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Dubai Title Defence Likely for Ortensia

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Ortensia trainer Paul Messara has given every indication the multiple Group 1 winner will return to Dubai this year to chase back-to-back titles in the $US 1 million Al Quoz Sprint (1000m).

Ortensia

Ortensia is likely to head back to Dubai to defend her Al Quoz Sprint title. Photo by: Taron Clarke.

Ortensia heads a Messara-trained trio that have been nominated for races on the Dubai World Cup night card.

Stable newcomer Soft Sand and injury-troubled gelding Mic Mac have both been entered for the $US 2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (1200m) and while both will have to show Messara they are worthy of the trip, Ortensia has nothing to prove.

The 1000-metre specialist displayed an obvious liking for the all-weather surface at Meydan last March when winning the lucrative sprint by more than a length ahead of Sole Power.

“It’s the right distance down a straight track and she’s been there before and she’s won there before,” Messara told Racing Network.

Ortensia further proved her ability to travel and win when she followed up her Dubai success with victories in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes and the Group 2 King George Stakes in the UK in August.

The daughter of Testa Rossa has recovered well from the gruelling overseas campaign and is well into her preparations for a first-up battle with Black Caviar in the Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 16.

She will trial on Tuesday in what will be her final serious hit-out before taking on the world’s best sprinter.

Ortensia has raced Black Caviar just once when she was beaten 6 1/2 lengths to finish third in the 2010 Patinack Farm Classic.

Four-year-old Soft Sand has recently joined Messara’s team after previously being trained by Colin Little at Caulfield whom under she finished second in the Group 1 Myer Classic at the Spring Carnival.

Mic Mac is a dual winner at Group 2 level but has not raced since breaking his leg in the Galaxy last April.

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