On Saturday Tony Noonan?s classy four-year-old mare Ortensia claimed Group 1 glory in the $300,000 The James Boag Galaxy (1100m) at Randwick when she secured an excellent last-to-first win ahead of a brilliant field of rivals.
Starting the race as the $4.40 favourite after an impressive barrier trial at Warwick Farm on April 9, Ortensia put in a powerful display and managed to charge down the outside to win by a widening short-neck ahead of the Chris Waller-trained Shellscrape ($21), with Gai Waterhouse?s Swift Alliance ($7) just a half-neck away in third.
It was an extremely tight and exhilarating sprint to the finishing line, with less than four metres separating the top nine finishers.
The second favourite going into the barriers at $4.60 was the Mark Kavanagh-trained Definitely Ready, who despite leading early on raced erratically, caused interference when he failed to make the final turn causing interference to other runners before stopped badly on the straight to finish a disappointing ninth.
Ortensia impressed many as she came from dead last on the final turn to chase down the field on the straight and score the win.
A daughter of Testa Rossa, Ortensia has now won nine of her 17 career starts, including her Group 2 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) win at Ascot in November last year, and boasts over $1.13 million in prizemoney.
Ortensia?s trainer Noonan is looking towards an international career for her now, with the Group 1 Krisflyer International Sprint (1200m) at Singapore next month a big possibility.
After the overseas stint, Ortensia will return home for the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) in Brisbane on June 12, where Ortensia will be looking to atone for her third place to Black Piranha last year.
Victory in the coveted Stradbroke would see Ortensia surpass Typhoon Tracy, who flopped to finish 14th to Rangirangdoo in the $1.5 million Doncaster Mile (1600m) on Saturday, as Australia?s highest-rated mare.
Earlier on Saturday at Randwick before the Doncaster Mile and The Galaxy the opening Group status race, the $125,000 Group 3 South Pacific Classic (1400m) was won by improving gelding Star Of Octagonal, while the Gai Waterhouse-trained Once Were Wild won the first Group 1 race at the meeting, the $350,000 AJC Australian Oaks (2400m), nudging out the favourite Faint Perfume.
2010 The James Boag Galaxy Results:
|Tony Noonan||Craig Williams|
|Chris Waller||Dwayne Dunn|
|Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller|
|Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy|
|Steve Richards||Steven King|
|Gary Portelli||Michael Rodd|
|Clarry Conners||Tommy Berry|
|Kris Lees||Tye Angland|
|Mark Kavanagh||Glen Boss|
|John Wenman||Brenton Avdulla|
DE LIGHTNING RIDGE
|Joseph Pride||Blake Shinn|
|Anne-Maree Robinson||Jay Ford|
|Anthony Cumming||Tim Clark|
|Tim Martin||Hugh Bowman|