Australia’s sprinters have been overshadowed all year by Black Caviar and as a result some of them are having to look overseas to try and find their glory.
With Ascot in England almost ready to spring to life with one of the world’s best carnivals, two Aussie chargers will be boarding a plane next week.
Star Witness for Danny O’Brien will partner Peter Moody’s Hinchinbrook as they fly our flag in the motherland against the best they have to offer.
It would be easy to write them off after average runs in 2011 but when you take out the freak of Black Caviar and even Hay List they both come right into contention.
Star Witness especially is a horse which has had his problems in recent times but as he makes his final preparations before heading north everything seems to be in great order.
“Everything was excellent,” O’Brien said.
“The horse trialled very very well and he’s exactly how I want him heading onto the plane next week.”
The plan has always been to get Star Witness on the plane in racing condition so there’s less pressure on the horse when they touch down in the UK.
“Ideally you’d like to not play any catch up work fitness wise once you get there,” he said.
It’s a long way to go to not bring back a win and both trainers know how much is riding on good performances at Ascot.
They are buoyed though by the fact it’s a path that’s been travelled and travelled successfully in the past.
The first run will be the Group 1 Kings Stand Stakes but O’Brien says a good run from Star Witness could see him running again in less than a week.
“The Australians have an outstanding record in the King’s Stand but there’s certainly no hesitation to back him up on the Saturday as well,” he said.
The Black Caviar issue certainly isn’t the overriding factor in the trip to England and O’Brien isn’t making a spur of the moment decision in sending his horse overseas.
“I’ve had this in mind for the horse for 12 months, he’s always been a horse I thought would be well suited to the Ascot meeting,” he said.
“The timing has been ideal, he’ll be going there in the best shape of his life.”
The addition of Hinchinbrook was also a bonus for O’Brien and he’s confident that not making the trip alone will only serve to better his horses chances.
“It’s great to have a travelling partner and the horses can get over there together and do a lot of their work over there together,” he said.
Also boosting his hopes and making him feel more at home is the ride of regular jockey Steven Arnold.
“We’re really pleased to have Steven travelling over and he was really happy with the horse this morning,” he said.