The now Paul Messara-trained Ortensia is gearing up for her maiden overseas appearance this Sunday morning in the 2012 Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup Night, the world’s richest race meeting.
Formerly prepared by Tony Noonan who guided her to a number of notable performances including a 2009 Stradbroke Handicap third in Brisbane, 2010 Patinack Farm Classic third behind the world’s best mare Black Caviar during the Melbourne Cup Carnival and 2011 CF Orr Stakes third to former Horse of the Year Typhoon Tracy, the Testa Ross six-year-old was sent to Messara’s Queensland stables at the end of last year.
She has saluted in both of her runs for Messara to date winning the Listed GH Mumm Stakes (1100m) at Flemington last November and then traveling to Ascot in Perth where she finally broker her Group 1 maiden status in the Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).
Ortensia also won the 2009 Winterbottom Stakes back when the Festival of Perth Racing feature only held Group 2 status.
Now it is onto bigger and better things on the international arena with Ortensia to line up against a crack field in the US$1 million Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) running as Race 5 at Meydan in the early hours of Sunday morning our time.
Messara reported that since arriving in Dubai Ortensia had settled well and looked ready for the action.
“She’s done everything asked of her since she’s been here and the straight 1000-metres on the turf will give her the chance to put in a strong finish,” Messara said.
“She’s settled in really well which you like to see.
“Sometimes they don’t when you travel horses but she’s done well.
She’s going to face some pretty decent opposition but we’re quietly confident she’ll run well.”
In the big 16-starter Al Quoz Sprint field Ortensia has drawn wide with barrier 10 and will be ridden by ace Australian hoop Craig Williams.
Following the Al Quoz Sprint Ortensia will may her way home via England for the Kings’ Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
“She’s heading to England after the Dubai meeting and will have one or two runs there all being well,” Messara said.
“We’re keen on the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot – especially in the likely absence of Black Caviar.”
Messara has his fingers crossed that Ortensia will be able to go two better than his former champion mare Alverta who improved form a 14th to Starspangledbanner in the 2010 Golden Jubilee Stakes to come within a length of them next start in the Group 1 July Cup (1207m) at Newmarket.
“You’d like to spend your life as a trainer campaigning horses at these great meetings but, in truth, this is the right path for Ortensia and the tough five furlongs (1000 metres) at Ascot should be ideal for her,” he said.
“I have a real soft spot for Alverta.
“She did win the (2010) Coolmore Classic at home and was very good when we travelled here but as far as sprinters go, there is no doubt Ortensia is the better of the two mares.”
In the Al Quoz Sprint odds Ortensia pays around $11, the Australian punters having backed her in from her opening price of $15.
Some of the better fancied chances include Sole Power who has barrier 15 to overcome if they are to improve on their 14th in this event last year, More Than Ready gelding Regally Ready who should get a gun run from barrier three, and veteran sprinter Joy And Fun who is by Aussie sire Cullen.
Former UAE Champion Jockey Brett Doyle will partner Joy And Fun in barrier six, as the horse and hoop combo look to repeat their 2010 Al Quoz Sprint triumph.
“He is probably my favourite horse from my time in Hong Kong and won well here two years ago,” Doyle said.
“He was then injured in Europe and took a while to get back to his best but he comes here in great nick. It looks a very strong heat but I am very hopeful of a very bold show.”
Two other Aussies will also be making their international debuts on the night with the Peter Snowden-trained duo Helmet and Sepoy racing in the UAE Derby and Golden Shaheen.
Whether it is a local midweek meet or the biggest night of racing in the world, Australia’s own bookmaker.com.au have all the Australian and international horse racing odds you’re after.
So visit bookmaker.com.au today and get behind the Aussie contingent this Dubai World Cup Night.