Ortensia to defend Dubai crown

Trainer Paul Messara would love to return to Dubai with his international Group 1 winner Ortensia to defend her crown in the Group 1 US$1m Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) at Meydan on Dubai World Cup Night in March.


Ortensia could defend their Al Quoz Sprint crown in Dubai. Photo by: Taron Clarke

Messara went on a journey of a lifetime with Ortensia winning Group 1 races in three countries including the victory in Dubai which put the Testa Rossa mare in the international spotlight.

“She could go to Dubai again but we’ll just take it one run at a time,” Messara said.

Ortensia took on a world class field in Dubai after winning the Group 1 $500,000 Burswood Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot, Perth on November 19, 2011  before venturing to Dubai with Craig Williams aboard for both Group 1 victories.

Messara then continued his travels and from five starts in Britain, Ortensia saluted twice, once at Group 1 level in the £250,000 The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (5 furlongs) at York on August 24 following her win in the Group 2 £100,000 Gordon’s King George Stakes (5 furlongs) at Goodwood on August 3.

Ortensia was sent back to Australia after she finished her English campaign with a lacklustre thirteenth in the Group 1 £225,000 The Betfred Sprint Cup (6 furlongs) at Haydock Park on September 8 and is now back in work preparing for the Autumn.

Messara has picked out the Group 1 $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 16 as her kicking off point for possibly another overseas campaign and is likely to clash with the great mare herself, Black Caviar as she begins her Australian farewell tour.

“She’s back in work and going well at this stage,” Messara said.

“She’ll hopefully be ready to trial around mid-January ahead of a first up run in the Lightning Stakes.”

Perth’s latest sprinting sensation Barakey will head east for the Autumn after winning this year’s Winterbottom Stakes but a clash with Ortensia and Black Caviar in the weight for age Lightning is highly unlikely.

West Austalian trainer Jim Taylor will probably bypass the Lightning for the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 23 and the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 9 under handicap conditions.

“In the autumn we’ll go over the Melbourne and in races like the Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket we should get in somewhere near the minimum, so he’ll be a good chance,” Taylor said.

“He’s a five-year-old and had a couple of leg issues, so we don’t want to over-race him.”

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.