Ortensia targets NZ sprint double
The decision to defer Ortensia’s stud career proved lucrative when the mare won the Listed GH Mumm Stakes at Flemington at her first start for new trainer Paul Messara.
But Messara admitted to being nervous before Thursday’s 1100m straight race, hoping he had done everything right.
“The pressure was on with this horse and she delivered,” Messara said.
“She has been with us a couple of months and came to us in great order from Tony Noonan.
“When you’ve got a horse for the first time you’re always unsure whether you’ve done enough or too much.
“It’s a fine balance particularly with these older mares.”
Messara had the balance just right with Ortensia beating Balmont by two lengths with a neck to Miss Octopussy in third place.
The New Zealand summer sprint double of the Group One Railway and Telegraph Handicaps is a likely target for Ortensia who was a gallant fifth in the 2010 International Sprint in Hong Kong under Noonan.
She was stripped of her win in the 2010 Group One Galaxy after a testing positive to a banned substance which Noonan, who was not penalised, believed had come from contaminated feed.
Messara said he came by the six-year-old mare because she was showing signs she still had some racing left in her.
“One of the owners is based at Scone and they had in mind to retire her to stud,” he said.
“I’m just down the road and because she was galloping round the paddock he thought we might just bring her back into work and see how she goes.
“We were hoping to get a few more runs out of her and, after today, those Group One races in New Zealand look like a possibility.
“She’s a rising seven-year-old this season and after that will be a mum.
“She’ll make a lovely mum and hopefully before then we can have a bit of success.”