Ortensia (orange and white silks, right) storms to Nunthorpe victory
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Aussie star Ortensia wins Nunthorpe with late run
Report: Friday, York
Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) 5f, 2yo+
AUSTRALIAN trainer Paul Messara was rewarded for his patience and perseverance as Ortensia won her first British Group 1 in the Nunthorpe.
She came from miles back to seal the race in the final furlong, just edging ahead of runner-up Spirit Quartz with the line fast approaching.
Victory capped an often frustrating summer in the northern hemisphere for Ortensia, who was denied her ground in consecutive Group 1 attempts on softer ground at Ascot and Newmarket.
She won the Group 2 King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, yet the top-tier victory her international form warranted and her trainer desired still eluded her.
It looked like fate had conspired against him again over the last couple of days as rainstorms softened the going on the Knavesmire, but if that was a handicap for Ortensia she overcame it in style with her stunning late charge to glory.
Winning rider William Buick said: “She’s unbelievable, I can’t remember riding a horse that can go through so many gears over five furlongs. She’s an amazing mare and the best five-furlong horse I’ve ridden.”
Spirit Quartz gave trainer Robert Cowell something to celebrate after Kingsgate Native, the 2007 winner of this race, was withdrawn on Thursday evening after an unsatisfactory blood test.
Tim Easterby’s Hamish McGonagall was just over a length further back in third, and Humidor came home fourth for trainer George Baker, who said: “He is in the form of his life and that wasn’t a massive surprise because the ground was starting to come in his favour. A soft ground Abbaye would be his dream scenario. He hasn’t done bad given that he came to us for £14,000 rated 72!”
There was disappointment for Roger Charlton after his Bated Breath found the going too soft to justify strong support in the betting. The trainer tweeted: “Too slow for Bated Breath, he just can’t quicken on that ground. Haydock next in two weeks, hopefully he will get some fast ground.”
James Doyle, rider of Bated Breath, saw plenty of positives in the performance of the sixth-placed horse, however. “I’m chuffed to bits with him. He didn’t travel as well as at Ascot but that was purely down to the ground. There has been plenty of rain, which made it loose on top and that isn’t in his favour, but he still ran on really well at the end,” he said.
BetVictor eased Bated Breath to 6-1 (from 9-2) for that Haydock race, the Betfred Sprint Cup, while Ortensia was cut to 3-1 (from 7-1).
William Hill, meanwhile, initially made Bated Breath, Ortensia and Excelebration their 5-1 co-favourites before trimming Ortensia into 4-1 favouritism.