Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Star Witness will return against the usual classy Oakfield Plate field when he returns second-up at Caulfield this Saturday February 26, 2011.
The 2011 Oakleigh Plate will once again be run over 1,300 metres as part of Caulfield’s Blue Diamond Stakes Day and is worth a total of $400,000 in prize money.Dual Group 1 winner Star Witness is back to compete on Blue Diamond Stakes Day, where he won the coveted Blue Diamond Stakes 12 months ago, despite striking interference at the 400 metre mark.
Most recently, Star Witness claimed victory in the 2010 Coolmore Stakes on October 30, 2011.
The three-year-old colt has won four of his nine starts so far, giving him a career win percentage of 44%.
Star Witness was raging hot favourite at Luxbet to win the 2011 Listed Manfred Stakes at Sandown on February 9, 2011, where he finished third.
After his honest performance in the Manfred Stakes last start, Star Witness’ trainer Danny O’Brien has opted to aim his champion colt at the shorter sprint races in the future, such as the 2011 Oakleigh Plate.
“After speaking to (jockey) Steven (Arnold), the feeling is that at the end of the 1300m at Sandown that he’d had enough,” O’Brien said.
Star Witness has only been beaten once down the straight, and that was by champion mare Black Caviar.
Star Witness has only failed to finish in the placings twice in his career, in the Group 2 Todman Stakes and the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes, and both times was a victim of circumstance, hanging out during the race and becoming caught extremely wide.
Star Witness has contested three Group 1 races during his career, winning two and placing second in the third.
The Starcraft colt will be looking to exert his dominance over his rivals in the 2011 Oakleigh Plate, including classy filly Solar Charged, who is also coming off a third placing in her first start of the preparation in the Group 3 Rubiton Stakes on February 12, 2011.
Solar Charged has won three of her ten career starts so far and is a dual Group 3 winner.
Solar Charged is not the only competition Star Witness will have to attempt to fend off in order to win the 2011 Oakleigh Plate.
Champion trainer Peter Moody has nominated a total of five runners for a shot of the title in the 2011 Oakleigh Plate.
Included in Moody’s nominations are Set For Fame, Hinchinbrook, Avenue and Reward For Effort.
Avenue could be a huge danger to Star Witness’ attempts to win his third Group1 , with the four-year-old mare showing her form with a second placing in February 12’s Group 3 Rubiton Stakes.
Avenue will be hoping to make amends for last year’s Oakleigh Plate, where she finished second from the rear and pulled up lame.
Despite the hefty competition, Star Witness is sure to feature strongly in what will be a very exciting 2011 Oakleigh Plate this Saturday.
Star Witness is said to be in “great order, fresh and bouncy” by his trainer and in perfect form for this Saturday’s 2011 Oakfield Plate.
Star Witness’ performance in the 2011 Oakfield Plate will determine whether he runs in the 2011 Newmarket Handicap on March 12, 2011, for which he is also nominated.
The champion colt is currently sitting as third favourite in the betting order at Luxbet for the 2011 Newmarket Handicap, paying $13 for the win.
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Photo courtesy (c) Taron Clarke Photography
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