Witness aims for the stars

Danny O'Brien isn't shying away from a clash against more fancied rivals with his emerging colt Star Witness in Saturday's $1 million Blue Diamond Stakes.

Star Witness was promoted to the top of Diamond betting after a strong win in the Talindert Stakes last month, but eased again following the respective BD Prelude wins of Beneteau and Psychologist. At yesterday's barrier draw he also didn't fare well drawing the second widest gate in barrier 15.

"We certainly haven't forgotten about him. I am very pleased and he has trained on super," O'Brien said.

"Obviously they were very impressive and it looks like being one of the stronger Blue Diamonds we have seen in recent times.

"He was good when he won first up and then much better second time around and I think he has improved since then.

"I think we are as good a chance as any.

"He is doing it on raw ability and should make into a lovely three-year-old, but at the moment he's going well and given us no reason not to run on Saturday."

Star Witness is a son of Starcraft from the stakes-winning Lion Hunter mare Leone Chiara and was a $150,000 Magic Millions purchase for the trainer.

O'Brien trained Leone Chiara and her full-brother Ferocity, a Group 2 Ascot Vale Stakes winner.

"It's a family we have had a lot of success with and it's no surprise he can gallop. He looks very much like his mum," O'Brien said.

"We're still learning about the Starcrafts, but I would hope he will get a mile later on."

O'Brien will also run AJC Derby candidate Spacecraft in the D'Urban Stakes at Caulfield. Spacecraft was placed in Group 2 races last spring and ran an eye-catching first-up third behind Denman over 1200m last month.

"He's a horse that has improved since the spring and I am looking forward to getting him to Sydney for the Derby," O'Brien said.

Spacecraft will run in the Australian Guineas or Randwick Guineas at his next start.

Caulfield Cup placegetter Vigor kicks off what will be a limited campaign in the Carlyon Cup.

"Vigor is in good shape, but he's only going to have a very light preparation this autumn," the trainer said.

"He will run on Saturday and then probably the Blamey before going for a break, so we can have another crack at the cups," he said.

Story by Nathan Exelby, to view full Herald Sun story click here

Photo by Herald Sun