Tony Noonan will line up his five-year-old mare Ortensia in The Galaxy this weekend in a bid to make up for the horrors of last year’s race.
Ortensia was the official winner of last year’s Group 1 The Galaxy until the trainer was informed by racing NSW stewards months later that the mare had failed a drug test.
The Testa Rossa mare had tested positive to a substance known as ractopamine, which is most commonly found in pig feed.
Noonan lodged an immediate appeal on the grounds that he had not knowingly administered Ortensia with the banned substance, nor was it found to have enhanced her performance in the slightest.
However, the trainer’s appeal was dismissed, demonstrating the out-dated and rigid ruling of the NSW Racing Board, and Ortensia was stripped of her only Group 1 title.
“It was unjust, simple as that,” Noonan said.
“I was found innocent of any wrong-doing and the substance did not help the mare, yet she lost her only Group 1 race. You don’t get a lot of chances to win Group 1 races.”
While many would focus on the past, Noonan is looking onwards and upwards towards a winning performance in this year’s The Galaxy.
“Look, I’m over it. I’ve built a bridge,” Noonan said.
“I think she’s going better than she was a year ago,” he said.
Noonan is optimistic about Ortensia’s chances in Saturday’s race, despite having a winning drought that stretches more than a year.
“I know she hasn’t been winning, but she has been running good races in better fields than last year,” Noonan said.
“We tried her at 1400m and she ran well, but her best distance is 1200m when fresh, with lots of speed on, and that’s what she’ll get on Saturday.”