O'Brien seeks solace in past


His confidence up after Shamrocker's win in Saturday's Cadbury Guineas, trainer Danny O'Brien has sought solace in history in his bid to upset Black Caviar in Saturday's Newmarket Handicap.

O'Brien yesterday conceded a 5kg weight advantage was probably not enough for Star Witness to topple Black Caviar.

But he said many champions - even the immortal Sunline - had been reined in by the handicapper.

O'Brien said Over's shock win over an anchored Sunline in the 2000 Doncaster Handicap at Randwick proved topweights in handicaps faced a significant task.

Over, with 51.5kg, had a 6kg weight advantage over Sunline.

Black Caviar, with 58kg, will lump 0.5kg more than Sunline did in defeat, compared with Star Witness's 53kg.

"With two Group 1s, Star Witness is a better colt than Over, who'd only won at Sandown Guineas," O'Brien said. "But having said that, Black Caviar at 1200m might well be a better mare than Sunline.

"I don't go back as far as some but I've never seen a horse do what she can do in a sprint race."

O'Brien said Black Caviar's dominance would be dulled by her impost and that he expected Star Witness to be reasonably competitive. But he does not expect to beat her.

"I think everyone is expecting her to carry the weight and win and I'm expecting her to win, albeit the weight might take a bit off her performance," he said.

"I've never seen a horse do what she can do. She is brutal."

O'Brien lamented that Star Witness, pictured above chasing home Black Caviar in the Patinack Classic, had arrived in the wrong era.

"He's an outstanding colt but he just happens to be in the wrong year," he said.

"I firmly believe that if there had been no Black Caviar, he'd have three Group 1s to his name."

O'Brien will be in limbo for a jockey until Ben Melham's appeal against careless riding charge is heard this week.

Story by Matt Stewart, to view full Herald Sun story click here

Photo by Slickpix, to view Slickpix website click here


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