Ortensia Confirmed For July Cup
Ortensia is recovering well after pulling up sore from her Royal Ascot assignment and will press on to next month’s July Cup.
Trainer Paul Messara returned to Australia from England on Sunday after overseeing the mare’s preparation for the Group One King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in which she finished a disappointing ninth.
However, a post-race inspection revealed she strained muscles in her back, shedding light on her below par run.
Messara reported Ortensia had responded well to treatment and the Group One July Cup (1200m) at Newmarket on July 14 remained firmly on the radar.
“She pulled up with a strained back muscle but we’ve done a fair bit of work on that over the past 10 days,” Messara said.
“She’s improving and she’s heading to the July Cup.”
Messara is likely to head back to England in the lead-up to the feature sprint to again supervise the mare’s final preparations.
Whether jockey Craig Williams joins him is yet to be determined.
Williams, who completed a riding contract in Japan last weekend, guided Ortensia to Group One wins in the Winterbottom Stakes in Perth and Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai and was also aboard Ortensia in the King’s Stand.
Messara said the hoop would get first right of refusal but he was yet to speak to him about his availability for the July Cup.
“I haven’t got anybody else. It just depends on his commitments,” Messara said.
He also confirmed he had got his hands on a lycra body suit for Ortensia, the same kind Black Caviar was widely photographed in and which she wore during her long-haul flight to England.
“We’ve never used one before so we thought we’d test it out and see what we think,” Messara said.
“We’ve been giving it a bit of a whirl. The horses don’t seem to mind them.”
Messara said he would consider using the suit on Ortensia for her flight back to Australia.
Former Australian star Sepoy and Soul, who was fourth to Black Caviar in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, are other Australian-bred gallopers nominated for the July Cup.