Monday, July 23, 2012

Ortensia could stay in Britain for Nunthorpe Stakes

Australian mare, Ortensia, could have one more crack at landing a Group 1 British sprint, when lining up for the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York’s showcase Ebor Festival meeting on August 24, writes Elliot Slater.

The Paul Messara-trained seven-year-old has been far from disgraced in her two outings at the top level in this country, and if the daughter of Testa Rossa continues to thrive, there is every reason to believe that connections will postpone a return to her native land until after the five furlong contest on the Knavesmire.

The particularly wet British summer has done no favours to Ortensia, who is at her best on a decent surface, as she proved when landing the Group 1 Winterton Stakes on good ground at Ascot (Australia) in November.

She also put up the performance of her life to beat Ireland’s Sole Power on Dubai World Cup night at Meydan, winning the coveted Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint by a length-and-a-quarter.

After jetting into Newmarket in the spring, Ortensia was prepared for an assault on the five furlong King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, and was sent off 9/2 joint favourite in the horse racing tips for the traditional dash down the straight course at the Berkshire track. 

After showing plenty of speed to lead the field on the far side, Craig Williams’ mount faded inside the final furlong to eventually come home ninth of the 22 runners behind Hong Kong’s Little Bridge.

Despite the terrible ground at Newmarket, earlier this month connections decided to let Ortensia take her chance in the Darley July Cup on heavy ground, and, in the circumstances, the Aussie sprinter ran a fine race to finish fourth to Mayson, beaten just over eight lengths. 

As long as those exertions have not left their mark on her, she will most likely take her chance at York, and is currently priced up a 12/1 shot in the York Ebor Festival betting odds, headed by 5/1 favourite, Bated Breath.

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