Ortensia in doubt for spring with leg injury
A leg injury has forced star mare Ortensia out of the Group One Winter Stakes at Eagle Farm and put in doubt spring plans and a possible trip to Hong Kong in December.
Trainer Tony Noonan was at a loss to explain Ortensia’s performance after she produced a career-worst effort to finish 16th to Black Piranha in the Group One Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm last Saturday.
Leading Brisbane veterinarian Peter Reid inspected the four-year-old following her Stradbroke failure and discovered she sustained a cut on her off-side sesamoid.
“She’s got a nasty gash to her off-front sesamoid,” Noonan said.
“We only realised the extent of it when the vet shaved her.
“She’s obviously sustained it in running. She must have hit a nerve and that would have been enough to stop her.”
X-rays have cleared Ortensia of serious injury but it was enough to immediately rule her out of the final Group One of the season in the Winter Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday week.
Noonan has since left for England to inspect several yearlings he has in work with trainer Andrew Balding and was unaware of the scan results.
However, stable foreman Mick Robins believed Ortensia was unlikely to recover in time to be fit for the spring carnival in Melbourne.
Noonan hoped to use the Melbourne carnival as a springboard for Ortensia to head to the Group One Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin in December.
“I think Tony will be lucky to get her back in time for the spring,” Robins said.
“She’s going out for a spell at the end of the week and I can’t see her being back in time for the spring.
“It’s up to Tony but I think she’ll probably come back for the autumn.”
Robins believes Ortensia sustained her injury on the home turn in the 1400-metre Stradbroke.
“She was with the winner at the time when she suddenly stopped,” Robins said.
“When Craig Williams got off her he said there was something definitely wrong.”
Ortensia’s absence from the Winter Stakes will be a major boost for trainer Gerald Ryan who hopes to start Melito.
Ryan will inspect Melito later in the week before confirming a start but sees no reason why the filly can’t run.
“The spring in Melbourne is light on for fillies and mares and if she goes there she’ll probably only have two runs in the Schillaci or Moir Stakes before the Patinack Farm Classic on the final day of the carnival,” Ryan said.
“I’ve still got time to win another Group One with her this preparation in Brisbane.
“She puts in every time and is very honest. She’s taken everything thrown at her.”
Ryan believes Melito deserves to be crowned Filly of the Year at the end of the season following her Group One TJ Smith Stakes win at Randwick during the autumn and three Group One placings in the BTC Cup, Doomben 10,000 and Stradbroke Handicaps during the winter.