Ortensia ready to ride into history in July Cup at Newmarket
- by:Ray Thomas
- From:The Daily Telegraph
- July 14, 2012 12:00am
Ortensia winning at Flemington.Source: Herald Sun
ORTENSIA is poised to create Australian racing history if she can win the July Cup at famous Newmarket in England tonight.
And trainer Paul Messara hopes a second international Group 1 success with Ortensia will be the boost to his business that the mare’s Dubai Al Quoz Sprint triumph surprisingly did not provide.
“Her Dubai win hasn’t got me a lot of horses, that is for sure,” Messara revealed. “I only got one new client out of that win.
“But I think winning that Dubai race gives my existing clients and any future clients confidence that the stable can travel horses and get results.
“It’s a very hard thing to win Group 1 races overseas and not many have success doing it.”
Despite the Australian tradition of sprinting success internationally in the past decade, including Black Caviar’s Golden Jubilee Stakes win last month, Ortensia can become the first locally trained galloper to win two international Group 1 races in the same year.
Choisir did win the King’s Stand Stakes-Golden Jubilee Stakes double at Royal Ascot in 2003 but the first leg was a Group 2 race.
Takeover Target also won the King’s Stand when it still had Group 2 status in 2006 prior to his Group 1 Sprinters Stakes win in Japan.
The likes of So You Think, Starcraft and Strawberry Road were multiple major international race winners but with European trainers.
Ortensia is up against 14 top quality sprinters in the July Cup including 2011 Golden Slipper winner Sepoy, now trained by Godolphin’s Mahmood Al Zahrooni.
But the biggest danger to Ortensia might be the Engilsh summer that wasn’t. After the wettest June on record, the rain has continued in July and Messara is resigned to a track bordering on heavy tonight.
“It’s not ideal but what can you do – it just hasn’t stopped raining,” Messara said.
“The weather will change the competition in terms of who is going to show up on the day. A lot of the favourites don’t want it wet.
“Ortensia has been placed in a Stradbroke on a heavy track so we know she can get through it.”
Messara sent Ortensia straight to England after her Dubai win and with the mare set to contest the Nunthorpe Stakes in late August, her stay has extended more than four months.
The trainer has made frequent trips to the UK during this period while relying heavily on his stable travelling foreperson, Leah Gravaich, who has been with Ortenisa since she left for Dubai.
“Leah’s been away forever it seems, she’s almost English,” Messara said,
“But her role has been very important, she’s done most of the work with the mare and has done a great job.
“I’ve been wearing my passport thin travelling to England and back – deep vein thrombosis is not far away.”
Messara said the costs of having Ortensia in England for such an extended period is “very expensive” but her win in Dubai eased the financial pressure in more ways than one.
“Thankfully, the Dubai Race Club pays your way back after racing at the World Cup meeting,” Messara said.
“We were fortunate to have that included in the package from Dubai so we were able to bring her to England free of travelling costs but it is still expensive to house horses here.”
Messara prepared Alverta to run third in the July Cup two years ago, the mare earning about 45,000 pounds for her minor placing and enabling connections to “break even” with the costs of campaigning in England.
“We didn’t make anything out of that trip,” the trainer said.
Conditions suit Society Rock to roll Ortensia
- BY:BRENDAN CORMICK
- From:The Australian
- July 14, 2012 12:00AM
THE certainty beaten in Black Caviar’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes, Society Rock, gets his chance to atone tomorrow (AEST) when he lines up against Australian mare Ortensia in the July Cup (1200m) at Newmarket.
Society Rock, who was trying for back-to-back wins in the Royal Ascot race, missed the start hopelessly and was a distinct last early. He powered to the winning post to run fifth, two lengths from the world’s best mare.
Irish veteran Johnny Murtagh has been replaced by top English jockey Ryan Moore and wet conditions will favour Society Rock.
Bated Breath will try to break his Group I duck in the race. Four times a runner-up at the highest level, the Roger Charlton-trained sprinter won’t get firm conditions, which suit him best. He was second in the July Cup 12 months ago to Dream Ahead and filled the same place behind Little Bridge in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot.
One punter has coupled Bated Breath with Giresun at Caulfield to win almost $260,000 on TAB Sportsbet.
There are two supplementary entries, David Marnane’s Wokingham winner Dandy Boy and Richard Hannon’s Strong Suit. Hannon also runs Libranno, a close fourth last year.
Ortensia has drawn a middle barrier for her shot at another international win, jumping from eight in the field of 15 runners, including former Australian star juvenile Sepoy, considered a doubtful runner in the rain-affected going.
Paul Messara, who trains Ortensia, decided to stay on for the July Cup after a back problem was detected following her ninth in the King’s Stand Stakes last month. She has been working well at Newmarket in preparation for the race.
Messara was happy with Ortensia’s draw. She was ridden closer than normal last time from an inside draw, but will likely be ridden back and come with a surge over the dying stages on the testing Newmarket course.
Red Cadeaux remains on track for a second attempt at the Melbourne Cup despite a tired performance for third behind Fiorente and Joshua Tree at Newmarket.
The Princess of Wales’s Stakes early yesterday was billed in some quarters as a Melbourne Cup trial with 2-1 favourite Harris Tweed leading until the last 400m before fading to fourth, and Red Cadeaux plugging on for third.
Red Cadeaux finished the closest of seconds to Dunaden in last year’s Cup and trainer Ed Dunlop said the race was still the target.
“It could have been one race too many and he has shown that ground that soft doesn’t suit him,” Dunlop said. “He will now have a break before Australia.”