Paul Messara’s international Group 1 champion mare Ortensia won’t, as expected, resume racing in a super charged clash with the mighty ‘Black Flash’ in Saturday’s Lightning Stakes instead racing first-up in the Oakleigh Plate 2013 at the end of the month.
Ageing seven-year-old Testa Rossa mare Ortensia has already amassed over $2.48 million in prize money over her 35 start career which has been highlighted by Group 1 victories in Perth’s Winterborrom Stakes, the Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai and the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes in Britain.
She was last seen running a disappointing 12th however when well beaten in another Group 1 race in England, the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock Park, last September.
Now set for an autumn return, original plans were to run Ortensia first-up in this weekend’s $500,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington Racecourse where she would face off against the world’s best mare Black Caviar for the second time.
Ortensia first encountered Peter Moody’s undefeated star, Black Caviar the dual defending Lightning Stakes champ, when under the preparation of her first trainer Tony Noonan running third in the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) in November of 2010.
Messara however has made a late decision to bypass the 2013 Lightning Stakes and opting to save Ortensia for the $400,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday week for Blue Diamond Stakes Day on the 23rd.
“The Lightning is two weeks too early for her,” Messara said.
“We’ll aim at the Oakleigh Plate instead.”
In the Oakleigh Plate 2013 Ortensia will meet, among others, the Gerald Ryan-trained Mrs Onassis who beat her home in a barrier trial at Rosehill earlier this month.
Ortensia joins a long list of Lightning Stakes defectors which will likely leave a diminutive field or rivals for Black Caviar to account for when she vies for her 23rd win from as many starts in a much-awaited return.
The 2013 Lightning Stakes nominations taken today feature 14 hopefuls including Mick Price’s Blue Diamond Stakes winner Samaready and two of Black Caviar’s stablemates in Golden Archer and Moment Of Change who was last seen winning the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
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