Trainer Danny O’Brien has confirmed Star Witness will start in the July Cup at Newmarket next month, after the three year old finished third in the Golden Jubilee Stakes on Sunday morning Australian time.
It was Star Witness’ second start of the Royal Ascot carnival, after he also ran second in the King’s Stand Stakes earlier in the week.
Star Witness led the field in the Golden Jubilee coming into the final stages of the race, however he was unable to hold out the fast finishing Society Rock who finished just ahead of Monsieur Chevalier, with the Danny O’Brien trained colt in third.
Jockey Steven Arnold said he thought Star Witness was travelling like the winner at the 400m mark, but he just found the last 50m too tough, which Arnold put down to the rain affected going.
“I think I’d attribute our defeat to the testing ground and in conditions like that you really need a horse that can get 1400m. The horse ran really well and that’s the game. You win some and you lose a lot.” Arnold said.
Following the race, O’Brien confirmed that Star Witness would be aimed at the July Cup at Newmarket.
“I brought him over here with the intention of running him three times so I would think we would go to the July Cup now,” O’Brien said.
“This horse is really enjoying Newmarket and we are enjoying being part of the big races over the summer.”
The last Australian horse to compete in the three big English sprint races was Takeover Target, who in 2006 won the King’s Stand Stakes, finished third in the Golden Jubilee and seventh in the July Cup.
Of course any Australian horse that travels to England for the sprint races is always going to draw comparisons to Choisir, who in 2003 won both the King’s Stand and Golden Jubilee before going agonisingly close to a historic treble in the July Cup, where he finished second.
The Golden Jubilee was taken out by Society Rock, who last year finished second behind Starspangledbanner.
“I am absolutely thrilled with the horse because he was slightly forgotten last year when he was second and then he was never right afterwards. He has taken his time to fire this spring but his last couple of pieces of work were very good. We’ve had plenty of good days, but they haven’t been for a while and this is pretty special,” said winning trainer James Fanshawe.
The July Cup, which is the British leg of the Global Sprint Challenge, will be run at Newmarket on July 9th.
At this early stage in betting, Star Witness is rated an $8.00 chance in the July Cup, while Society Rock is at $9.00.