Hunger burns for O'Brien


Danny O'Brien has vowed to return to Royal Ascot in search of elsuive victory after Star Witness twice performed well in Group 1 company at the famous meeting.

Star Witness will now be aimed at the 1200m July Cup at Newmarket on July 9, but O'Brien is keen to have another tilt at the royal meeting.

Star Witness enhanced his stud marketability with brave efforts in the King's Stand Stakes and Golden Jubilee Stakes.

He was second to Prohibit in the 1000m King's Stand on Wednesday, and third in the 1200m Golden Jubilee yesterday.

But for a botched start in the King's Stand and a soft track in the Golden Jubilee, Star Witness might have done better.

"He's run really well this week," O'Brien said yesterday. "We'd just love to have won here. This horse has a really good burst of speed and if we had seen him on a good track here, he would have really let go.

"He put a length and a half on them (in the Golden Jubilee) but he just peaked on his run."

O'Brien will give the three-year-old an easy time over the next few days before preparing hin for the July Cup. Choisir ran second in the race in 2003, having earlier won the Ascot double.

"He's got three weeks now to the Newmarket race and in the time he's been at Newmarket he's thrived," O'Brien said.

"We'd love to win there and we'd love to come back here (Ascot) and win."

Star Witness ($5) took the lead up Ascot's gruelling finishing rise, but was cut down by $26 outsider Society Rock and Monsieur Chevalier.

Ridden desperately by Steven Arnold, Star Witness hit the front 300m from the line but could not sustain his effort in the going.

Society Rock won by half a length, with a further length and a quarter to Star Witness, who will be retired to Widden Stud after his English campaign.

Story by Leo Schlink in London for the Herald Sun.

Photo by Steve Cargill  

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