While race fans all over the globe are gearing up for Black Caviar next race in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on June 23, another Aussie mare Ortensia will get the green and gold spirit going at Royal Ascot a few days earlier racing in the King’s Stand Stakes 2012 on the 19th.
The Paul Messara-trained Testa Rossa six-year-old is currently the $5.50 co favourite with Bechmapton galloper Bated Breath in the latest online betting markets in Australia for the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (1000m).
A winner of 11 of her 30 career starts to date Ortensia is no stranger to the international arena having raced in both Hong Kong and Dubai.
Her first overseas foray resulted in a game fifth to ace sprinter JJ The Jet Plane in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin in December 2010 when prepared by Tony Noonan.
After her second Winterbottom Stakes victory in November last year Messara then took Ortensia over to Dubai where she scored an impressive victory in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) on Mach 31 with Craig Williams in the saddle.
In the Al Quoz Williams guided Ortensia to a last-to-first win but Messara has indicated that she will be ridden up front closer to the tempo in a tactic change for the King’s Stand for which Williams retains the ride.
“It will be hard to make up the ground we were able to in Dubai so she will certainly have to settle a couple of lengths closer,” Messara said.
“Royal Ascot is an uphill track whereas Dubai was flat.”
With a big King’s Stand Stakes field expected to be accepted Messara has his fingers crossed for a good gate for his $2 million earner to give them something to chase in the race.
“I hope we draw where the speed is and where the main chances are so we’ve got a nice horse to follow in the race,” he said.
“It’s going to be a huge field and I think you’ve got to draw where the speed is, and there is no doubt there will be speed on in this race.”
Messara has drawn on his experience of racing former star mare Alverta in Europe two years ago, bringing Ortensia to Newmarket immediately after her Dubai win to give her time to settle.
“I think travelling these older mares you want to get here as soon as possible, settle them in, get them used to the weather and that’s what we did this time,” he said.
“She’s content and happy and thriving really, so we’re in a pretty good place at the moment.
“She’s settled in really well in this new environment and we’re pretty hopeful she can produce a performance like she did in Dubai.
“The signs are there that she’s getting ready to go out and perform again.”
The first Aussie-trained horse to win the King’s Stand Stakes was the great Choisir back in 2003 and since then there have been three more with Takeover Target (2006), Miss Andretti (2007) and most recently Scenic Blast (2009).
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