Brilliant Melbourne mare Ortensia is all set to grab a belated Group 1 in the Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Ortensia (5m Testa Rossa – Aerate’s Pick by Picnicker) was a G2 winner of the QTC Cup at Eagle Farm and G2 Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot last year before she was first past the post in the G1 The Galaxy at Randwick in April.
Stewards subsequently stripped her of the race in highly controversial circumstances. Trainer Tony Noonan was charged with presenting Ortensia to the races with Ractopamine in her system but escaped any penalty as the quantity of the drug was minimal and there was no evidence to suggest that he had administered the drug.
Noonan rates Ortensia as the best horse he’s trained. “She’s only lightly raced and has really filled out into a magnificent mare. She’s very competitive. Just like a footballer who gets white line fever.”
The Mornington trainer bought her for $50,000 at the 2007 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale for Alister Fraser and Emma Ridley who he had met in Dubai earlier that year. He was the first Australian trainer to target support races at the Dubai World Cup carnival winning with Benedetti and Smart And Mighty.
Ortensia is from an unraced half-sister to G3 Melbourne winners Intelligent Star (Picnicker) and Blaze The Turf (Blazing Sword). She has won 8 races from 21 starts and earned over $1.02 million in prizemoney.
Apart from being spooked by a stray puddy tat at trackwork this week, Ortensia’s preparartion has gone like clockwork and, importantly, she travelled to Hong Kong without being jaded by a long spring campaign in Melbourne.
Her jockey Craig Williams, who has ridden 112 winners in Hong Kong, secured a release from his commitments in Japan to partner the mare in Hong Kong.
Ortensia is by Vinery sire Testa Rossa. He has sired 342 individual winners world-wide at an outstanding 71% strike rate.