On Saturday Caulfield racecourse hosted one of their biggest and most exciting race meetings of the autumn, headlined by the $1million Group 1 Arrowfield Stud Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) where the Danny O?Brien-trained Star Witness claimed victory.
Star Witness ($10) overcame his wide barrier draw to beat home Shaaheq ($11) by just half a neck with odds-on favourite Beneteau ($3.20) the same distance back in third.
The second pre-race favourite, Psychologist ($8) could only manage fifth giving trainer Tony Vasil more disappointment on the day as in the following race his hot Oakleigh Plate favourite Lucky Secret finished a lacklustre eighth.
Star Witness with Nick Hall aboard jumped wide from barrier 14 and found themselves sitting towards the back of the 15-horse field. On the home turn eventual second placegetter Shaaheq stormed to the front, overtaking early pacemaker Crystal Lilly. But Star Witness and Hall made a skilful move, charging up on the outside to secure the lead and take home the title.
Saturday?s prestigious victory saw Star Witness, son of Starcraft, maintain his unbeaten record. He has now won all three of his race starts for over $717, 000 in prizemoney.
Despite his sensational win on Saturday, O?Brien will not be running Star Witness in the $3.5 million Golden Slipper (1200m) on April 3, instead opting for a Caulfield Guineas preparation.
It was a top quality race card on Saturday with a number of other Group feature races taking place at Caulfield. The other headline act aside from the Blue Diamond Stakes was the $400, 000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate taken out by the classy colt Starspangledbanner.
Other thrilling moments on the day included La Rocket?s upset win in the Group 2 St. George Stakes, when the five-year-old gelding defeated the warm favourite Heart Of Dreams ($2.45). The win gave trainer Dale Sutton his first Group race victory and boosted La Rocket into Australian Cup contention.
Also on Saturday, top filly Set For Fame claimed victory in the Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes setting herself up for a showdown with Denman in the Australian Guineas in a fortnight.
The two Group 3 races at the meeting were the Carlyon Cup where Rightfully Yours defeated their five rivals, and the Mannerism Stakes won by the Michael Moroney-trained Tootsie.
2010 Blue Diamond Stakes Results:
|Nicholas Hall||Danny O?Brien|
|Danny Nikolic||David Hayes|
|Daniel Ganderton||Paul Messara|
|Luke Nolen||Peter G Moody|
|Mark Zahra||Tony Vasil|
|Chris Symons||M Ellerton & S Zahra|
|Kerrin McEvoy||Peter Snowden|
|Brad Rawiller||David Hayes|
SHE?S GOT GEARS
|Craig Williams||Robbie Lang|
|Brett Prebble||David Hayes|
BIT OF A DUDE
|Michael Hoppo||Stuart Gower|
|Steven King||M, W & J Hawkes|
|Andrew Mallyon||Ricky Maund|
|Damien Oliver||John McArdle|
|Michelle Payne||John Leek Jnr.|