Star Witness settles into Newmarket

Star Witness is adapting to his new surroundings at Newmarket, England, reports trainer Danny O'Brien, despite a long 36 hour flight time from Melbourne last week.

The dual Group 1 winner travelled with the Peter Moody trained Hinchinbrook on the long flight which was held up in Singapore for some eight hours before the second leg to England.

Star Witness is the $6.00 TAB Sportsbet favourite for Tuesday's £300,000, Group 1, King's Stand Stakes (1000m) on the opening day of the five-day Royal Ascot meeting.

O'Brien said on Wednesday that he was allowing Star Witness to get used to the Newmarket surroundings after the trip and that the Starcraft colt would not have a final gallop for Tuesday's assignment until either Friday or Saturday.

Star Witness lost weight on the long flight over, but only what O'Brien described as what would be expected, and that importantly the colt had being eating normally since his arrival.

Both O'Brien and Moody have ensured that their respective colts were ready to race before they embarked on the travel to Newmarket allowing the horses to settle afterwards without additional pressure and work.

Reports from England earlier in the week had both Australian-bred's firming in markets for the King's Stand Stakes for Star Witness, and the £400,000, Group 1, Golden Jubilee Stakes (1200m) for Hinchinbrook. Star Witness may also contest the Golden Jubilee Stakes depending on Tuesday's outcome.

The closet local rivals in the King's Stand Stakes for Star Witness are Sole Power $7.50; Lady Of the Desert $10.00; Kingsgate Native $13.00 and Overdose, War Artist and Astrophysical Jet all on $17.00.

The market activity earlier this week has seen Star Witness firm in the TAB Sportsbet Golden Jubilee Stakes market from $6.60 into joint favouritism at $6.00 with Delegator, while Hinchinbrook has firmed from $10.00 into $9.00 to share the second line with Bated Breath.

Stephen Arnold rides Star Witness hoping to repeat his win on Scenic Blast in the King's Stand Stakes in 2009. Arnold will also use the opportunity, no doubt, on the following day to observe his former champion ride So You Think (NZ) when the now Aidan O'Brien trained entire lines up in the Group 1 Prince Of Wale's Stakes (2000m).

Story by Rob Burnett, to view full story at Racing and Sports click here

Photo by Age Photographer Vince Caligiuri