Ortensia off to Haydock after Nunthorpe Stakes win

International Group 1 winner Ortensia will now head to Haydock Park in two weeks to try and add another top level Cup to her trophy cabinet after winning the Group 1 £250,000 The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (5 furlongs) at York last Friday.


Ortensia will next race in the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock Park. Photo by: Sarah Ebbett

Trainer Paul Messara admitted after the victory that he thought Ortensia would struggle in the wet ground but the seven year old mare surprised him and top British jockey William Buick with her finishing burst.

“I walked the track this morning and again thought we didn’t have a chance. I just thought it was too soft for her to show her acceleration. Anyway, we’re here and she’s done it, just,” Messara said.

“It’s fabulous. It’s the most amazing feel. To win a big one over here is a huge thrill. I couldn’t believe it yesterday when it poured down. I thought we were coming here with no chance.”

Messara will now head to Haydock Park in two weeks for the Group 1 £225,000 The Betfred Sprint Cup (6 furlongs), another sprint feature in the QIPCO British Champions Series.

“We’ll see what happens, one race at a time. She’s been so good to us, we have to be good to her,” Messara said.

“So it’s a matter of seeing how she pulls up tomorrow and the next couple of days and if she’s had enough she will go back to Australia, otherwise we’ll be at Haydock.”

“No problem at six furlongs, dry track and I think she will be explosive.”

Buick also agreed that the six furlongs of the Betfred Sprint will suit Ortensia after the mare picked up the bit over the concluding stages to run down Spirit Quartz to win by a neck at the finish.

“You could see the way she finished the race she’s got so much speed and I think if she steps back up to six furlongs again, she’ll be very hard to beat,” Buick said.

“It’s fantastic, I don’t know how she won, to be honest. They went very fast and I was a long way back, but I could hold a straight course the whole way and she’s so much better when she doesn’t have to be switched in or out.”

“I don’t think I’ve been quicker in a race before and they just got her off the bridle, but when she gets to the furlong and a half marker she hits that sixth gear and picks up well.”

“The ground is a little bit loose, so that probably didn’t help her early on – we were kind of wheelspinning a bit. She showed at Goodwood what she can do to these sprinters and she showed today she’s superior to the sprinters over here.”

The Testa Rosa mare made it back to back wins for Messara in England after taking out the Group 2 £100,000 Gordon’s King George Stakes (5 furlongs) at Goodwood on August 3 as well as collecting her third Group 1 victory.

Messara was successful with Ortensia in the Group 1 $500,000 Burswood Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot, Perth on November 19 last year before heading off the Dubai to take out the Group 1 US$1m Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) at Meydan on March 31.

It’s been a great training effort by Messara to win three Group 1s in three different continents with a mare that was almost sent to stud last season.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.