Winning Return for Graff
It’s been a long time between drinks for five year-old Star Witness stallion Graff, who returned from the wilderness to win the Group II MRC Caulfield Sprint (1000m) on Saturday.
Winless since taking out the Group III ATC San Domenico Stakes as a three year-old in 2018, Graff has proven an enigma for his previous trainer Kris Lees and after a lacklustre campaign earlier this year, connections elected to try a change of scene and sent him to Melbourne to be trained by Danny O’Brien.
Ridden cold by Damien Oliver at the tail of the field, Graff swooped home late to cruise to a length and a quarter win.
O’Brien revealed he has known Graff all of his life since he was a foal.
“I’ve followed him his whole career,” he said. “I actually bred him. Antony Thompson and I bred him and sold him at the Magic Millions to Alan Bell.
“I’ve known him since he was a foal, so it’s good to be back involved with him and it’s good to bring him back to winning form.
“He’s a horse that’s always shown talent and raced at the top level throughout. Hopefully this can give him a real confidence boost.
“We’re heading to the Group II race on Derby Day (TAB Stakes, formerly Linlithgow) with him, so I’d say we’ll still go that way and potentially back up (into the Group 1 Darley Classic).
“There’s a lot of good sprints in the autumn if we can just keep him happy and bouncy, I’m sure he can get into another good race.”
Graff was offered by Widden at the Magic Millions, making $200,000 to the bid of Alan Bell Racing, but was on-sold earlier in his career as a stallion prospect to a syndicate of investors including Australian Bloodstock and Aquis.
Fifth in the 2018 Everest, Graff’s overall record now stands at four wins and three placings from 17 starts with prizemoney of $1.2million, his resume highlighted by a third in the Group I ATC Golden Rose and fourth in the Group I VRC Newmarket Handicap.
Graff is a half-brother to stakes-placed Steel Diamond and is the best of three winners from Group III winner Dinkum Diamond, a half-sister to Group III winner Dawn Passage.
Dinkum Diamond has a yearling colt by Zoustar and is in foal to Graff’s sire Star Witness, who stands at a fee of $22,000 this spring.