Ortensia’s outside barrier doesn’t concern trainer Paul Messara, declaring that the in-form mare is 100 per cent heading to Haydock today looking for her second Group 1 win on English soil at her last run in Eurpoe before returning home to Australia.
Ortensia drew the outside in the fifteen horse field but with William Buick to ride and the prospect of a good racing surface, she will start favourite in the Group 1 £225,000 The Betfred Sprint Cup (6 furlongs).
“We’re very happy with our mare, I wouldn’t be running her otherwise, and she’s had quite an easy time since York. This will be her last run in Europe, so she’ll be jetting off home afterwards,” Messara said.
“I’m not sure how the draw is going to work out, but I’m not too concerned. As long as she gets a clear passage, I’ll be happy. It’s a strong field and the media seem to be talking up Bated Breath as he will like the course and ground, so I’m sure he’ll be hard to beat.”
“The faster the ground the better for her and I think she’s 100%. Certainly the way she trotted out (on Thursday morning) was the best she’s trotted out in a while.”
Buick was in some doubt of riding Ortensia in The Betfred Sprint Cup because of a commitment to ride the John Gosden trained Nathaniel in the Group 1 €750,000 The Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes (1 mile 2 furlongs) at Leopardstown in Ireland.
But Buick and his team managed to organise a helicopter to fly the top rider from Haydock after the Sprint Cup which is due to start at 3.25pm to arrive in time at Leopardstown for the 4.45pm start time of the Irish Champion Stakes.
“I’m delighted William is able to ride her. He’s ridden her to two wins and it was a good run in the July Cup, so he knows her well now,” said Messara.
Buick has built up a terrific association with the Australian sprinter and from three rides on the seven year old has scored on two occasions, the latest taking out the Group 1 £250,000 The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (5 furlongs) at York on August 24.
The top English jockey knows that Ortensia will handle the extra furlong today, but respected second favourite Bated Breath and is expecting a tough race.
“Her running style suggests six furlongs will suit her. She’s a very good mare, but Bated Breath will probably get his ground this time so it will be a tough race. I think Bated Breath has had a couple of things not go in his favour this season – like the ground – so if the real Bated Breath turns up, I think he will give us a race,” Buick said.