Ortensia joins Caviar on European group 1 winners’ list
- August 25, 2012 – 9:43AM
Ortensia gave Australia a second group 1 sprint win this year in Europe at York. It was a victory which was ranked only a length behind Black Caviar’s triumph in the Diamond Jubilee early in the year by Timeform.
The win came against the odds as Paul Messara had given up hope of a European group 1 before Ortensia proved him wrong in the Nunthorpe Stakes on Friday. Arriving at a sodden York, he tweeted the track was equivalent to a heavy 8, far from ideal for a mare which likes firm footing.
He told his sparring partner and friend, Newmarket trainer Robert Cowell, what he really thought according to the Racing Post.
“Mate, I’m telling you it’s worse than soft to s—house.”
Ortensia squeezed up on the inside of Sprint Quartz, trained by Cowell, to score by a neck. The pair cleared out of the remainder led by Hamish McGonagall 1-1/4 lengths back in third.
“I don’t know how she won, to be honest,” Buick told At The Races.
“They went very fast and I was a long way back, but I could hold a straight course the whole way and she’s so much better when she doesn’t have to be switched in or out.”
Buick was stunned by Ortensia’s acceleration, even though she was having trouble in the ground.
“I don’t think I’ve been quicker in a race before and they just got her off the bridle, but when she gets to the furlong and a half marker she hits that sixth gear and picks up well,” he said.
“The ground is a little bit loose, so that probably didn’t help her early on – we were kind of wheelspinning a bit.
“She showed at Goodwood what she can do to these sprinters and she showed today she’s superior to the sprinters over here.”
The Nunthorpe victory means Ortensia has won group 1s in three different countries in the past nine months, starting in the Winterbottom Stakes in Perth before he success in the Al Quoz Sprint on World Cup night in Dubai.
For Messara, York may top the list after Ortensia was beaten in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot and July Cup at Newmarket
“It’s fabulous. It’s the most amazing feel,” Messara said. “To win a big one over here is a huge thrill. I couldn’t believe it yesterday when it poured down. I thought we were coming here with no chance.
“I walked the track this morning and again thought we didn’t have a chance. I just thought it was too soft for her to show her acceleration. Anyway, we’re here and she’s done it, just.”
Ortensia has been made a $4 favourite for the Haydock Sprint Cup in fortnight and may try to win a group 1 in a fourth country by taking on Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp on France’s biggest day in October.