Aussie connections upbeat despite defeat


Australian sprinter Star Witness will stay in England to contest next month's July Cup after finishing third to Society Rock in the Golden Jubilee on Saturday.

Star Witness finished second to Prohibit in the King's Stand Stakes on Tuesday and was leading inside the final 400m but was agonisingly reeled in by Society Rock and Monsieur Chevalier.

The last Australian horse to compete in all three races was Takeover Target, who in 2006 won the King's Stand Stakes before finishing third in the Golden Jubilee and seventh at Newmarket.

"I brought him over with the intention of running him three times so I would think we would go for the July Cup now," said Danny O'Brien, Star Witness's trainer.

"This horse is really enjoying Newmarket and we are enjoying being part of the big races over the summer."

After 26mm of rain fell at Ascot in the final three days the going was the softest Star Witness had encountered since running third at Caulfield in August last year.

His jockey Steven Arnold was quick to underline the conditions as the reason for defeat.

"He travelled like the winner beneath me going into the last 400m. Inside the last 100m though he just was bottomed out, he felt gassed and the last 50m was a real struggle," said the Australian rider.

"I think I'd attribute our defeat to the testing ground and in conditions like that you really need a horse that can get 1400m.

"The horse ran really well and that's the game. You win some and you lose a lot."

Society Rock maintained a fine tradition of becoming the fourth winner at big odds in six years.

The four-year-old was handed a pre-race quote of 25-1, having chased home in second Starspangledbanner 12 months ago in the same race in good to firm conditions.

Story by Geoffrey Riddle (AFP), to view full story click here

Photo by Steve Cargill

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