UK: ORTENSIA SET FOR NUNTHORPE
No good news for horses wanting dry ground tomorrow. Far softer than I expected. Would be rated as Heavy in Australia. So frustrating.
Bucketing rain at York. I can’t believe it. (Friday morning)
Australian mare Ortensia blitzed the opposition in the Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai back in March and while she failed to find her best form on her first couple of outings in Britain, she came good at Glorious Goodwood last time.
Roger Charlton’s Bated Breath aims for an elusive first victory at Group 1 level following a number of near-misses and connections will be keeping their fingers crossed the current fast ground on the Knavesmire stays that way until later in the week.
Sole Power was a 100-1 winner of this five-furlong (1000m) test a couple of years ago but has proved that to be no fluke on multiple occasions since and he would be another deserved victor if he can get his head in front, with quick ground also in his favour.
Seemingly the biggest threat to the established sprinters is the up-and-coming Pearl Secret, the apple of trainer David Barron’s eye.
The three-year-old is unbeaten in four starts, has struck twice over this course and distance, and is held in the highest regard by his astute handler.
Kingsgate Native makes his debut for Robert Cowell, who also saddles smart sprinters Spirit Quartz and Monsieur Joe.
Other contenders for this QIPCO British Champions Series race include Invincible Ash, Dandy Boy and Tiddliwinks.
Richard Fahey has decided against running July Cup winner Mayson while Tom Dascombe’s Queen Mary winner Ceiling Kitty failed to make the cut.
There’s also Group 2 action in the shape of the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes – a two-year-old race for colts and geldings at 2.30pm.
The six-furlong (1200m) race has attracted the winner of the Richmond Stakes, also a Group 2 race over this trip, Heavy Metal, and the progressive Pearl Acclaim who chases a hat-trick.
The other Pattern race is the Group 3 Sky Bet Strensall Stakes (3.05pm), a 10-furlong (2000m) race. Recent Newmarket winner Tazahum will have his supporters, hailing from the powerful Sir Michael Stoute yard.