Scone Then Brisbane for Ortensia’s Swansong Campaign

Strong indications from Scone trainer Paul Messara suggest his globetrotting mare Ortensia will not race on after the winter with a Listed race at home named in her honor on the cards ahead of a possible 2013 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival campaign to see out her career on the turf.


Ortensia is likely to run during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival 2013 before her retirement. Photo: Sarah Ebbett.

A 13-time winner including dual Winterbottom Stakes in Perth the now seven-year-old Testa Rossa mare is most famous for her international Group 1 triumphs, Ortensia having won the Al Quoz Sprint in Meydan and England’s Nunthorpe Stakes last year.

Since returning from her overseas preparation Ortensia has been disappointing running 11th and 12th respectively in the Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket Handicap in Melbourne during the autumn.

Messara is hopeful that a recent third in a Randwick barrier trial, which didn’t work out as planned, is an indication of improvement to come from the $2.48 million earner as she prepares for her likely swansong season.

“She got a bit further back in the trial than anticipated and they crawled and sprinted home,” he said of the trail in which Nash Rawiller was aboard.

“It wasn’t really what we were after but the main thing for me is that she has come through it very sound.

“Realistically this would be her last preparation.

“I highly doubt she would be racing on in the spring unless she did so in foal.”

He will race her at home during the Scone Cup Carnival next start eyeing off the race named in her honour with the $140,000 Listed Ortensia Stakes (1100m), formerly the Scone Quality, on May 18 where she will be fitted with blinkers to help sharpen her up.

“She didn’t have the blinkers on in the trial but they will go on for Scone,” Messara said.

It could then be onto Queensland for the winter riches before leaving the racing scene in favour of the breeding barn.

Ortensia has run in two winter carnivals in the sunshine state.

Her first was in 2009 when prepared by Tony Noonan, the campaign producing a stakes win, Group 2 QTC Cup triumph and a good third to Black Piranha in the Stradbroke Handicap.

She wasn’t as successful the following year when returning however, her three start assault ending with a distant 16th to the defending champ in the Stradbroke.

If she does go back to Brisbane in 2013 it will be for the first time under Messara who has had the champion in her care since the spring of 2011, the horseman sad to see her form dropping off as she nears the end of a lucrative career.

“I’m happy with her but whether she is going as well as she was 12 months ago is yet to be seen,” Messara said.

Ortensia is nominated for two of the majors during the carnival among the early entries for both the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 25 and Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle farm on June 8 – the latter worth a record $1 million for the winner this year.

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