Winner: Star Witness (Starcraft-Leone Chiara)
Race: MRC Blue Diamond Stakes G1 (1200m)
Sold for: $150,000
Sale: 2009 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale
Vendor: Almavale Bloodstock, Qld
Buyer: Danny O’Brien
Owner(s): DT O’Brien, Koundouris Bloodstock Pty Ltd Synd, RJ Parkes, T Davis, M Corvo, M Dascarolis, R Surace, Laing Racing Synd & Redwebjug Sund
Trainer: Danny O’Brien (Flemington)
Star Witness confirmed his status as the new rising star of Australian racing when he stormed home for an awesome win in today’s Group One $1 million Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield.
Despite jumping from an outside barrier, covering extra ground and wobbling around the final turn, Star Witness produced one of the biggest finishes in Caulfield’s Group One history to win.
A $150,000 purchase for trainer Danny O’Brien at last year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, Star Witness has won all three of his starts to date – importantly on three different Melbourne tracks.
“It’s very exciting – not much went right for him,” a jubilant O’Brien said. “He wobbled on the corner and was virtually last when they straightened.”
“Nick (Hall, winning rider) was very confident. The last thing he said to the owners was – I’ll get back, then pull him out to the outside and just win!”
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in this colt,” he added. “He does things that only top class horses can do.”
“Even when he was so far off them I knew he could finish off – I know what sort of sectionals he can finish.”
“I think he’s better than just the average two-year-old who can win the Blue Diamond. Hopefully we’ve got a very exciting horse to race on next year.”
“He’s well above average. I think he’s a colt with a huge future.”
O’Brien immediately ruled out a trip to Sydney to contest the Group One Golden Slipper Stakes – a race dominated in recent years by Magic Millions graduates.
“He’s not even entered. If he runs again it will be in the (VRC) Sires’ (Produce Stakes) and then he’ll be going to the paddock and looking forward to the spring.”
At the post Star Witness ($8-$10) held a widening half neck margin over Shaaheq ($9-$11).
The favourite Beneteau ($3-$3.20) made ground in the straight to finish third, another long neck back, but he was no match for the winner, who came from behind him and went straight on by.
O’Brien trained Star Witness’ dam Leone Chiara during her career as well as other members of the illustrious Alma Vale family.
“We’ve had a lot of success with the family. Her (Leone Chiara, dam) full brother Ferocity won the Ascot Vale Stakes and this bloke looks like being the best of the lot.”
Winning rider Nicholas Hall said bigger and better things were likely for Star Witness as he continues to learn what the racing game is all about.
“When he comes back and relaxes next time in I think he’s going to be a super horse,” Hall stated.
Magic Millions Managing Director David Chester was delighted with the win of the Gold Coast Yearling Sale graduate.
“Traditionally the Blue Diamond isn’t a race we have many runners in and this year Star Witness was our only runner,” Chester pointed out.
“Usually our graduates are either aimed at the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic at the Gold Coast or the Golden Slipper in Sydney – so to win a Blue Diamond Stakes is a great advertisement for Magic Millions in Victoria.”
Chester said the win was the most incredible Blue Diamond Stakes win in recent years.
“What a performance it was. It gave me goosebumps. I think we saw something very special this afternoon.”
“Congratulations to Danny O’Brien and the owners, as well as rider Nick Hall – it is a day they will never forget.”
“The win was a great result for renowned Queensland breeder Ken Turner from Alma Vale Bloodstock – he’s bred some outstanding horses out of the same family and Star Witness is a great advertisement for his property.”
With three wins from an many runs under his belt, Star Witness has shot his earnings to over $700,000.
The result of the race was a great advertisement for the sponsor, Arrowfield Stud. They stand Star Witness’ sire Starcraft as well as Redoute’s Choice who sired both minor placegetters.