Returning from a spell as a seven-year-old is never easy but international Group 1 winner Ortensia has shown promising signs ahead of her likely first-up run in the 2013 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 16.
The Testa Rossa mare underwent a gallop in Scone this morning, leaving trainer Paul Messara confident she can return at her best at the 2013 Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
“It wasn’t a searching gallop by any means and we are pleased with where she is at presently,” Messara told Sky Sports Radio.
The winner of 13 of 35 starts hasn’t been since September when her successful overseas campaign came to a disappointing close when 12th in the Sprint Cup at Haydock.
Prior to that the experienced galloper won the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai and also took top honours in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York and the Group 2 King George Stakes at Goodwood.
Following her UK expedition, Ortensia spent time in quarantine in both the UK and Australia before being given a four-week break upon her return.
Messara admits to being pleasantly surprised as to just how well she came through the trip and how quickly she is beginning to regain fitness.
“I’ve been surprised with a couple of pieces we’ve done seeing just how fit she is for the little work she has done to date,” Messara said.
“There is always a question mark whether they will come up again but she is enjoying all of her work, is happy in the stables and is just generally a very happy horse.”
If Ortensia does make it to the start line in the Black Caviar Lightning, she is in for a tough ask as she takes on the world’s best sprinter, Black Caviar.
The super mare is on track for her first race in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in July and will have an exhibition gallop at Caulfield on February 2.
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