Ortensia has been confirmed as the latest runner to be aimed at the Group 1 2013 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday week in what will be her first race since last year’s overseas campaign.
The multiple Group 1 winner was originally scheduled to return on Saturday in the Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) but trainer Paul Messara said her fitness levels weren’t up to scratch.
Instead the seven-year-old will benefit from an extra week of training and will form part of a strong Oakleigh Plate field that has benefited from Black Caviar forcing many away from this weekend’s feature sprint.
Messara will give the Testa Rossa mare a solid hit-out before travelling down early next week ahead of the $400,000 sprint for what she is expected to be allocated around 57.5-58kg.
“I spoke briefly with Craig Williams’ manager who had been in touch with the handicappers and he suggested she would have somewhere around 57.5kg or 58kg,” Messara told Sky Sports radio.
Following the Melbourne test Ortensia could head to Sydney for the Group 2 2013 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Warwick Farm on March 16.
Despite being a Group 2 race, the Challenge could be one of the more anticipated races of the autumn as it has been earmarked as a possible return for top sprinter Hay List who has spent nearly a year on the sidelines with injury.
Ortensia is also nominated for the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington March 9 but Messara said he is leaning towards the Challenge.
“I wouldn’t have to do a lot with her to have her ready for that,” Messara said.
Also on the cards for the globetrotting sprinter is the Group 1 2013 TJ Smith in April.
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