Bleak forecast has O'Brien concerned


Danny O'Brien says a forecast for heavy rain puts Star Witness in doubt for the Danehill Stakes at Flemington.

A decision on spring targets for Blue Diamond winner Star Witness hinges on whether he takes his place in Saturday's Group Two Danehill Stakes at Flemington.

The Flemington track was rated in the dead range on Friday but trainer Danny O'Brien was concerned that around 40mm of rain was forecast on Saturday which would make the going heavy and Star Witness a doubtful runner.

"If we don't run tomorrow, then obviously the (Caulfield) Guineas is out," O'Brien said.

"But if he runs tomorrow it gives us the option of making that call further into the spring.

"If he doesn't run tomorrow, I'll be looking at waiting and running him in the Schillaci Stakes on Caulfield Guineas day and three weeks later into the Coolmore Stud Stakes with the option to run him a week later in the Patinack Farm Classic."

O'Brien was happy with Star Witness' return in the Vain Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield last month when third to Toorak Toff.

"... he was exposed pretty early to the breeze and obviously Toorak Toff got the cover and ran him down and (the runner-up) Soul was good inside him," O'Brien said.

"But his run was full of merit.

"Toorak Toff was very good winning the Group One (Golden Rose) last week and that might be a strong race by the end of the spring."

O'Brien announced this week that James Winks had been appointed as his number one stable rider and he will replace Nick Hall who had been aboard the Starcraft colt in each of his five starts for three wins.

The Flemington trainer hinted the chestnut would be ridden further back in the field on Saturday.

"I think he is a horse with great acceleration at the end of his races and those sort of horses are always going to be best when ridden conservatively early in the race," O'Brien said.

"You don't want to take too much of their finishing speed off by being too positive on them."

Star Witness is sharing favouritism with brilliant Queensland filly Military Rose at $4.20 with TAB Sportsbet.

Story by AAP, to view full story on Herald Sun Super Racing click here

Photo by Slickpix, to view Slickpix website click here

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