May could turn out to be a month to remember for Testa Rossa. After Morphettville’s Super Sunday meeting, the spotlight turns to Brisbane where his mare Ortensia will take centre stage at the winter carnival.
Ortensia (4m Testa Rossa – Aerate’s Pick by Picnicker) was a G2 winner of the 2009 QTC Cup at Eagle Farm before her ground-breaking Group 1 victory in The Galaxy at Randwick on April 17.
Mornington trainer Tony Noonan believes the best is still ahead of the Testa Rossa mare. “Ortensia is only lightly raced and has really filled out into a magnificent mare,” he said. “She’s very competitive and we’ve got some unfinished business coming up in Brisbane.”
Ortensia will set out on an ambitious winter programme in the G1 BTC Sprint on May 15 followed by the Doomben 10,000, Stradbroke Hcp and Winter Stakes. She was the best of good things beaten when third in the in the 2009 Stradbroke after coming from the tail of the 20 horse field to get within a length of Black Piranha and Danleigh.
Peter Moody is another Testa Rossa fan. “I’ve supported him big time,” Moody said at Sandown earlier this week. “I trained Testafiable to win a South Australian Derby and Tereschenko a Magic Millions 3YO Trophy.”
Moody prepared a Testa Rossa quinella at the Hillside course on Wednesday when Arvan edged out Star Scream in the So Called Super VOBIS Handicap (1800m). And for good measure, they combined to make it a winning double with Testacana in the Le Pine Funerals Handicap.
Moody won the Queensland Derby with Riva San in 2008 and he will set Arvan and Star Scream for this year’s classic at Eagle Farm on June 12. The Sandown finish must have brought back memories for Yallambee studmaster Rick Woodard and his wife Christie. They reared both youngsters and had watched them gallop head-to-head at the Romsey nursery from the time they were foals.
They’ve continued that rivalry since joining Moody’s Caulfield stables. “They are both nice types,” Moody told AAP on Wednesday. “They have a lot of similarities and there’s not much between them.”
Stable jockey Luke Nolan confirmed the duo are very competitive. “Star Scream beats Arvan at morning trackwork,” Nolan revealed. “But Arvan finds another length with the addition of blinkers on raceday.”
Arvan, who is Testafiable’s younger brother, caught Nolen by surprise when he began to pull up before the line at Sandown. “I had to get him back on the job – he must have thought he had already done enough to win!”
Or was he just waiting for his mate to catch up?