Rare Diamond


Danny O'Brien doesn't need to be a history buff to know the sorry tale of Blue Diamond winners over the past 10 years.

Since 2000, only four Diamond winners - Reward For Effort, Alinghi, Kusi and Bel Esprit - have won again after claiming Victoria's premier juvenile race.

Alinghi, with eight wins afterwards, including three Group 1s, provides the bulk of the quartet's total of 13 wins.

And, if you expand the story to include Diamond placegetters, it doesn't get any better.

The winners and placegetters combined have 38 wins from 302 starts with Miss Finland, runner-up behind stablemate Nadeem in 2006, stumping up for nine of those.

It's a sobering thought, as 2010 Blue Diamond winner Star Witness resumes tomorrow in the Vain Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield.

While O'Brien is mindful of the Grand Canyon-like hole that past Diamond winners have found themselves in, he said Star Witness would prove the exception.

"It's been a long time since a Blue Diamond winner came back and won at three (years old)," O'Brien said.

"There's no guarantees about anything, but we have always thought he would be a better three-year-old, and the indications are he hasn't gone backwards.

"He had a good break in the autumn, he's had a long build-up and he's had a faultless preparation.

"He's definitely bigger and stronger. He's showing us more than he did as a two-year-old and we're hoping that translates into a big spring."

Star Witness, who hit his head in the barriers in the Todman Stakes in an aborted Golden Slipper campaign, trialled brilliantly on Geelong's synthetic track earlier this month.

Jockey Nick Hall, who continues his successful association with the colt, said Star Witness had given him a great feel.

O'Brien noted the difficulty in assessing the Vain Stakes, which brings together a bunch of lightly raced young horses with different form lines.

"All I know is that I'm very happy with my horse," he said.

The Vain Stakes will parlay into the Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on September 4 and that Group 2 race will determine which path O'Brien will take with Star Witness.

Options for Star Witness include pushing ahead to the Caulfield Guineas on October 9 or concentrating on Group 1 sprint races - the Manikato Stakes, Ascot Vale and The Patinack Farm Classic.

"It might be more attractive for him to run in three Group 1 sprints than to focus on the one race. We'll know more after the Danehill," O'Brien said.

Punters stampeded TAB Sportsbet when Star Witness opened at $4.80, forcing his price to tumble to $3.60 outright favourite.

Story by Adrian Dunn, to view Herald Sun Super Racing website click here

Photo by Herald Sun

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