Group 1 winning mare Ortensia will proceed with a Sydney Autumn Carnival campaign even though she failed to flatter in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Ortensia was having her first run back from a spell following a successful overseas campaign last year which included wins in the Group 2 £100,000 Gordon’s King George Stakes (5 furlongs) at Goodwood on August 3 and the Group 1 £250,000 The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (5 furlongs) at York on August 24.
Trainer Paul Messara will head back Sydney to get Ortensia right after pulling up with swelling to one of her fetlocks after finishing a lacklustre eleventh to Mrs Onassis at Caulfield.
“She has some swelling on a fetlock which is a concern, but I don’t think it will stop her,” Messara said.
“At this stage we’re going to press-on and she will now go to the Challenge Stakes.”
If Messara can get Ortensia back on track, a clash with Hay List would be an extra attraction in the Group 2 $175,000 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Warwick Farm on March 16.
And the Group 1 $1m Darley T J Smith (1200m) at Randwick on April 13 is also on the radar for Meassara and is shaping as a highlight of the Sydney Carnival with Peter Moody having nominated the weight for age sprint for his champion mare Black Caviar.
Messara was willing to forgive Ortensia for the below par effort in the Oakleigh Plate, saying that none of the packmakers made up any ground in the straight which he said was a race that is usually won from the back.
“It was a strange race because nothing came from the back which they often do in that race,” Messara said.
“I’m not taking too much from the race and I wasn’t disappointed in the way she went.”
Ortensia won the 2011 Group 1 $500,000 Burswood Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth during the Summer Carnival before heading to Dubai this time last year where she took out the Group 1 US$1m Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) at Meydan on March 31 before moving onto England.
Ortensia is the winner of thirteen races, including three Group 1s, and has amassed almost $2.5 million in prizemoney.