Ortensia’s late flourish grabs Group One glory in Nunthorpe Stakes
Ortensia has spent most of her career in Australia unable to emerge from the giant shadow cast by champion sprinter Black Caviar, but she has always had speed and class and both qualities came to the fore at York on Friday.
Ortensia looked to have no chance at the halfway stage of the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, yet she produced such an extraordinary finishing burst up the far rail that she was able to snatch victory by a neck.
Paul Messara, her young trainer, who has 35 horses in work at the boutique bush track Scone, in New South Wales, has done an excellent job with her, sending her out for major wins at Meydan in Dubai, Goodwood and now York. She is likely to have one more outing here, in Haydock’s Sprint Cup [Sept 8], before returning home to rest in a paddock.
“After two furlongs I was very concerned. William [Buick] said she couldn’t handle the ground. She has run a big race. She’s best on top of the ground. She’s a seven year-old and I have been very fortunate to get her at the end of her career,” Messara said.
One of racing’s oldest traditions is that the owner of the winner of the Gimcrack Stakes delivers a speech before a gathering of Yorkshire’s most influential racing folk at a dinner at the racecourse in December.
The honour this year falls to Matt Morgan, the owner of a Derby-based finance company. He and his wife Lauren own Blaine, who took yesterday’s renewal in game fashion. More importantly to some, the winner is trained in Yorkshire, by Kevin Ryan.
Blaine is a half-brother to stablemate Bogart, and was named, by Darley agent Mark McStay, after the owner of Rick’s Café, played by Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca.
Morgan reported that Blaine had been working better at home than Hototo, winner of the Sales race at York on Thursday, thus generating plenty of stable confidence.
Frankie Dettori was so happy to have ridden a winner at the meeting that he treated the crowd to a flying dismount after Dubai Prince had taken the Strensall Stakes. “The trick with this horse is the trip,” said Simon Crisford, racing manager to owners Godolphin.