TESTA ROSSA’S outstanding sprinting mare Ortensia is top weight in tomorrow’s King George Stakes (Gr 2, 5 f) at Goodwood, which will be her final tune-up for the Nunthorpe Stakes (Gr 1, 5f) at York on 24 August.
Trainer Paul Messara and managing owner Alistair Fraser decided to extend her stay in England to include the Nunthorpe Stakes, “It’s stopped raining over there at last – she runs at Goodwood and then in the Group One three weeks later,” Messara told ANZ Bloodstock News.
After her brilliant win in Dubai in the Al Quoz Sprint (Gr 1, 5 f) en-route to England on 31 March, Ortensia has been twice unplaced, firstly at Royal Ascot on 19 June then at Newmarket on 14 July when fourth.
The Australian mare hurt herself in the King’s Stand Stakes (Gr 1, 5 f) at Royal Ascot when 9th of 22 runner’s and was not suited by the extremely heavy conditions in the July Cup (Gr 1, 6f), running a gallant fourth to Mayson (Invincible Spirit).
Ortensia will be ridden by the in-form British based jockey William Buick.
A field of 17 has been declared for Friday’s race that include last start City Walls Stakes (Listed, 5f) winner Hamish McGonagall (Namid), who is drawn in barrier 14 alongside Ortensia. In the City Walls Stakes, Hamish McGonagall beat Pabusar (Oasis Dream) by a length and a half, with the four-year-old gelding drawn in barrier 12. Tangerine Trees (Mind Games), who finished a length in front of Ortensia in the King’s Stand will jump from barrier three on Friday.
The seven-year-old’s extended overseas stay means she will miss the Australian breeding season but there is a possibility she could be served by a European stallion to Southern Hemisphere time.
Ortensia was originally trained in Victoria by Tony Noonan and came to Messara after his Hunter Valley neighbour Fraser decided to put her back into work.
It proved a wise decision, with Ortensia winning her first three starts for her new trainer, which has included two Group Ones, the Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) in Perth in November and then the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan in March.
The Testa Rossa (Perugino) mare may possibly race on after the Nunthorpe as she is among the entries for the Sprint Cup (Gr 1, 6f) at Haydock on 8 September and could also have the Prix de l’Abbaye (Gr 1, 1000m), at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe meeting at Longchamp in October, on her agenda.