A forward showing by multiple Group 1 winner Ortensia in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield tomorrow would be a bonus for trainer Paul Messara heading into the rest of the Autumn.
Ortensia is having her first run since returning from a successful trip to Dubai and England last year and Messara says whatever his smart mare does tomorrow, she can only improve on for the remainder of the Carnival.
“I’m really happy with her but she is going to improve being her first run back from an overseas trip,” Messara said.
“I think she has come back as good as she could be. When we were overseas she was really flying, she just took to the environment and really thrived, and I’d like to think we can get her back to there.”
Ortensia started her overseas campaign in Dubai with a win in the Group 1 US$1m Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) at Meydan on March 31 last year.
Messara then moved onto England where Oretnsia was unplaced at Ascot and Newmarket before winning the Group 2 £100,000 Gordon’s King George Stakes (5 furlongs) at Goodwood on August 3 and followed that up with a victory in the Group 1 £250,000 The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (5 furlongs) at York on August 24.
Ortensia had one more unplaced run at Haydock Park before Messara called an end to her overseas campaign and headed home to Australia.
Ortensia was given a barrier trial at Rosehill on February 5 and although she was fairly relaxed, Messara is certain that the seven year old is ready to perform well back at Group 1 level.
“She’s is a bit of a mood horse, sometimes she’ll come out and is fired up and will want to go and other times she’ll just roll,” Messara said.
“She pulled up well, she just mentally wasn’t switched on and she has come on since the trial.”
Craig Williams will renew his association with Ortensia after having partnered the mare in seven of her thirteen wins and as well as riding her in the Group 1 Dubai victory, was aboard when they took out the 2011 Group 1 $500,000 Burswood Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth during the Summer Carnival.
Ortensia is still in the mix for the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 9 before heading back to Sydney for a possible clash with Hay List in the Group 2 $175,000 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Warwick Farm on March 16.
And a clash with the Queen Of The Turf, Black Caviar and Hay List could be on the cards in Group 1 $1m Darley T J Smith (1200m) at Randwick on April 13.
Ortensia is a $7 chance taking on the undefeated Western Australian sprinter Barakey who is the $3.40 Oakleigh Plate favourite.
Three year old Shamal Wind is on the second line of betting at $6 with Undeniably at $11.