Ortensia Wins King George Stakes for Aussies
1 Ortensia 6/1 Fav
Top Australian sprinter Ortensia landed her first success in Britain, and became an initial Glorious Goodwood winner for horses from her homeland, in this Group Two sprint.
Trained by Paul Messara and ridden today by William Buick, Ortensia left Australia to run and win in Dubai in March, then travelled on to Britain nine weeks before Royal Ascot where she was beaten in the Group One King’s Stand Stakes. She then finished fourth in the Group One July Cup, but confirmed she is a top-class sprinter today, when, shouldering a 7lb penalty, she scored by one and a quarter lengths and half a length from Spirit Quartz and Masamah.
Ortensia has been trained in Britain from a quarantine yard in Newmarket, and although Messara has been at home for much of that time he entrusted her care to local trainer Toby Coles, who spent just over a year in Australia during which time the two men became friends. Coles said: “I’m proud on Paul’s behalf, although I haven’t done much towards this win. Paul’s watching at home and will have been very pleased.
“The Royal Ascot run was a bit of a quandary, but she ran a cracking race at Newmarket because she had never been on ground that wet in her life - it was more like swimming than galloping. Today she got her own ground and showed what she could do, and she didn’t have a good run.
“Things didn’t go well in the early stages of the race and then she got a bit of air and came through easily. William wasn’t hard on her.
“She saw a bit of downhill racecourse at Newmarket, but otherwise a course like this is an unknown. They don’t have anything like it in Oz.”
Ortensia has entries in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York and Haydock’s Sprint Cup, but Coles said: “I don’t know how long she’ll stay here, although I’d love her to stay. As long as the rain stays away there’s a chance.”
Buick said: “If you look through her previous form she was head and shoulders above the rest. I didn’t think she had run downhill before and she certainly got a little bit lost on that section of the track - there were plenty of speed horses in the race and my plan was to sit in behind them, but Paul Messara had said to me ‘don’t get in a panic and don’t ask her to do something she doesn’t want to do’. He said ‘let her take you’ and she certainly finished the race well.
“This mare will take some pegging back in the Nunthorpe if they let her take her chance and she’s in the form she showed today. She’d be better on a flat track and I think York would suit her, but she might go back to Australia - there’s better prize money over there.
“It’s a great training performance by Paul and the groom who looks after the mare. They have been brave to come all this way and I’m really glad it’s worked out for them.”
Gordon's King George Stakes (Group 2)
NUNTHORPE NEXT FOR SPIRIT QUARTZ
Spirit Quartz produced another good effort when finishing second to Australian raider Ortensia in the Group Two Gordon’s King George Stakes, beaten one and a quarter lengths.
Spirit Quartz, trained in Newmarket by Robert Cowell, finished fifth in the Group One King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in June before coming a close fourth in a Group Three at Sandown on July 7.
Cowell said: “I am thrilled with Spirit Quartz. He is improving all the time and will make a proper horse next year.
“You look at his stature and he is still maturing. He is getting bigger and bigger every week and will be a serious horse next year.
“I will speak to David Redvers and he will probably go to the Nunthorpe Stakes (August 24) and then we will probably give him a break and come back next year.
“I think we may get away with six furlongs but he is fully-effective at five furlongs.”
The Nunthorpe Stakes at York later this month is the next stop for Masamah, who followed last year’s win in the Gordon’s King George Stakes with a gallant third place.
“I think this was a much better edition of the race than last year’s and I was delighted with him,” said the six-year-old’s trainer Kevin Ryan. “He’s run a blinder and the Nunthorpe Stakes is where we’d like to go next.”
The five-furlong Group Two contest was only the third of the year for the grey son of Exceed And Excel. “The ground has been the problem,” said Ryan. “He needs it at least good and it’s been a frustrating old year for all of us trying to train them. But we had to give him a couple of runs because you can’t keep them locked up all year.”
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