After suffering an upset defeat in the King’s Stands Stakes, the Danny O’Brien-trained Star Witness will get a final chance to salute in an international Group 1 when the son of Starcraft takes on a quality field including the fellow Australian-trained hopeful Hinchinbrook in Saturday’s Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes (1200m) at Royal Ascot.
After former Aussie great So You Think suffered his first loss in Europe in Prince of Wales Stakes overnight, a past or present Australian-trained horse saluting in one of the 300th Royal Ascot Carnival’s Group 1 races now hinges on either Coolmore Stud Stakes champion Star Witness or the Peter Moody-trained Hinchinbrook when the pair clash in the 2011 Golden Jubilee Stakes.
Stablemate to undefeated turf queen Black Caviar, Fastnet Rock colt Hinchinbrook makes his international race debut in the Golden Jubilee, the dual black-type winner and multiple Group 1 placegetter the second favourite for the sprint feature.
Golden Jubilee Stakes betting is still lead by Star Witness despite the horse going down by a half-length to Prohibit in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (1005m) on Tuesday evening (AEST).
In a brave decision by O’Brien, Star Witness will line-up for his second Royal Ascot race in the space of just four days as connections look for some European glory before they are retired to serve as a stallion at Widden Stud in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales.
The horse that beat Star Witness into second last start, Prohibit, will not be there for the Golden Jubilee with their trainer Robert Cowell saying they were unsuited to the step up from 1005m to 1200m.
“He can’t go a yard past five furlongs (1000m),” Cowell said.
Eight years ago the Paul Perry-prepared champion Choisir became the first non-European-trained thoroughbred to win at Royal Ascot with their 2003 win in the King’s Stands Stakes.
Just four days later Choisir went on to win the Golden Jubilee Stakes carting a hefty 59kg to victory.
While Star Witness missed out on this year’s King’s Stands Stakes honours, there’s still a chance for the Aussie three-year-old to follow in Choisir’s hoofsteps with a win in 2011 Golden Jubilee on Saturday.