Arnold confident Star will shine bright at Ascot


Steven Arnold, searching for a second King's Stand Stakes success, is upbeat about Star Witness's Royal Ascot's prospects.

Arnold, who won the 1000m King's Stand two years ago on Scenic Blast, left Werribee on Friday quietly confident that Star Witness would acquit himself well in the Group 1 sprint on the opening day of Royal Ascot on June 14.

The Danny O'Brien-trained colt trialled before departing on Wednesday with Peter Moody's Hinchinbrook for Royal Ascot and possibly the July Cup at Newmarket.

"I trialled him a couple of weeks ago and he had a soft trial and I didn't get a 100 per cent guide, but Danny wanted him to do a little bit more and I was really happy with the way he went," Arnold said.

"I thought he went super. He galloped really well - nice and sharp. You want to go to these races thinking the horse is going pretty good and that's the feel he gave me.

"If he turns up 100 per cent and runs to his ability, he'll go well."

O'Brien declared Star Witness in "the best shape he's ever been".

O'Brien was buoyed by Star Witness' jumpout and how he's progressed in the break he's had since March's Newmarket Handicap.

"He's matured even further from what you saw in the spring and autumn.

"I'm expecting him to go there and be very competitive," he said.

British bookmaker Ladbrokes rates Star Witness a $9 equal favourite for the King's Stand on June 14 and $8 second favourite for the 1200m Golden Jubilee Stakes at the same track five days later.

O'Brien said there were excuses for Star Witness' career-worst run in the Newmarket at Flemington as the horse had become stirred up by the noise from the car show at the nearby Showgrounds.

He said the three-year-old lost his composure.

"He just wasn't a happy horse," O'Brien said.

"You've got to say his best is very good. His (Blue) Diamond win was very good, his Coolmore (Stud) win was very good and his Patinack run behind Black Caviar was very good. I'm sure he can reproduce at least that when he gets over there."

Story by Adrian Dunn, to view full Herald Sun story click here

Photo by Age Photographer Vince Caliguiri 

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