Ortensia gets Hong Kong invitation
Trainer Tony Noonan says Ortensia has the right racing style to cover herself in glory in next month’s Group One International Sprint at Sha Tin.
A winner of nine of her 21 starts, the Testa Rossa mare received her invitation on Monday to compete against some of the world’s best sprinters in Hong Kong on December 12.
Noonan said Ortensia’s target all campaign had been the International Sprint (1200m) and she was scheduled to fly from Melbourne on Tuesday next week.
“We have set her for this race and she looks well placed,” Noonan said.
Jockey Craig Williams, who flies to Japan on Wednesday to complete a three-month riding contract he began earlier this year, will jet to Hong Kong to continue his association with Ortensia.
Ortensia’s only start this campaign was a gallant third to Black Caviar in the Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 6.
The five-year-old is noted for her barnstorming finishes from near last and Noonan believes that can give her an edge in Hong Kong.
“I think her pattern of racing suits the style there,” Noonan said.
“They run very quick and the track lends itself to horses that can get home.”
Noonan said Sunday’s Group Two Jockey Club Sprint at Sha Tin, a lead-up to the International Sprint, supported his claim.
One World swooped from back in the field to dead-heat with Rocket Man who had raced off the pace in fourth place.
Noonan said Ortensia would gallop between races at Sandown on Wednesday before leaving for Hong Kong.
“Sandown will top her off for the trip and she will probably have another two gallops over there before she runs.”
Noonan said importantly Ortensia was a fresh horse on the scene and it should work in her favour.
“The last couple of years most of our sprinters have gone there after having heavy campaigns at home where she hasn’t,” Noonan said.
“Her only run has been a third behind the fastest sprinter in the world so she will be a fit mare and a fresh mare.
“She had an easy time after the hard run at Flemington but she will be spot-on in Hong Kong.”
Ortensia is a dual Group Two winner of Perth’s Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) and Brisbane’s QTC Cup (1200m). She was stripped of her win in the Group One Galaxy due to a positive swab but that disqualification is subject to appeal.
Ortensia is the only Australian-trained horse entered for Hong Kong’s international meeting which will also feature the French-trained Melbourne Cup winner Americain in the Vase (2400m).