TESTA Rossa mare Ortensia finally got the Group 1 win that she richly deserved after a dominant win in yesterday’s Group 1 WATC Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot.

It was the second win in the Winterbottom for the Paul Messara trained mare – the race was upgrade from Group 2 status for the first time this year – with Saturday’s win never in doubt from the moment the field jumped.

Regular rider Craig Williams made use of Ortensia’s tactical speed to park the mare in the perfect position – one out and one back – poised to pounce.

Once Williams was able to push out into the open at the 200m, Ortensia let down with her trademark burst to win with a degree of comfort.

Ortensia was heading to the broodmare paddocks before her owners decided to give her one more chance with Scone based trainer Paul Messara.

The victory takes the overall record of the 6yo daughter of Testa Rossa to 10 wins 3 seconds and 4 thirds from 29 starts for earnings of $1,553,905.

Bred by veteran Corowa horseman Len Rhodes at his Riverside Stud, Ortensia was knocked down to bloodstock agent Steve Brem for $50,000 at the 2007 Inglis Premier Yearling sale.

She is the second foal of the unraced Picnicker mare Aerate’s Pick, a sister to Rubiton Stakes (G3) winner Intelligent Star and a half-sister to the Autumn Stakes (G3) winner Blaze the Turf (Blazing Sword), the dam of the stakes winning Soleil (Flying Spur).

Granddam, Rule The Turf is a half-sister to Tyreel Stud’s grand foundation mare Eau D’Etoile (Sir Tristram) the dam of Epsom Hcp (G1) and Caulfield Stakes (G1) winner Filante (Star Way), Golden Slipper winner Bint Marscay (Marscay) and Australian Guineas (G1) winner Kenny’s Best Pal (Bletchingly).

Aerate’s Pick has an unraced 2yo filly by God’s Own and a yearling colt by Testa Rossa. She foaled an Encosta de Lago colt in October.


”Ortensia was always going to be a very valuable broodmare when she finished racing but with the Group 1 alongside her name now, it just takes her to that next level,” says Vinery’s Conor Phelan.

”You wouldn’t find many tougher mares in training than her, she’s been everywhere including to Hong Kong where she ran particularly well in the International Sprint.

Ortensia is one of Testa Rossa’s 39 individual stakeswinners.

Her dam, Aerate’s Pick, foaled a colt by Testa Rossa in 2010.