Trainer Paul Messara will push ahead to York with Ortensia after the mare ran a much improved race on a heavy track in the Group 1 £400,000 Darley July Cup (1200m) at Newmarket on Saturday.
The Group 1 £250,000 The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (5 furlongs) at York on August 24 is part of the British Champions Series and is certain to attract another high class field of quality sprinters.
Ortensia failed to handle the heavy Newmarket surface but pleased Messara with her fourth placing behind the Richard Fahey trained Mayson who is also entered for the Nunthorpe.
“She hated the track and she’d never run on ground anything like that before. On that basis it was a huge run and we’ll see how we go in the Nunthorpe,” Messara said.
Messara had to nurse Ortensia back to full fitness after the mare disappointed when ninth to Little Bridge in the Group 1 £350,000 The King’s Stand Stakes (5 furlongs) at Royal Ascot on June 19 .
The Group 1 winning mare pulled up with a back strain after not showing her customary finishing burst at Royal Ascot but had recovered and pleased Messara with some solid work leading up to the July Cup.
“On the day she really overheated prior to the race and I think to some degree ran her race before she got out onto the track,” Messara said of Ortensia’s Royal Ascot effort.
“She received a squeeze at the 500 and then had to bump her way clear and pulled up with a sore back.”
“There were a few excuses for what happened at Royal Ascot.”
“I think you will see a different horse in the July Cup – she is going as well as ever,.” Messara said prior to Newmarket.
Ridden by top English jockey William Buick, Ortensia (7-1) made some ground from midfield but was beaten just over eight lengths in the heavy ground by 20-1 shot Mayson who set up a five lengths winning margin over The Cheka (14-1) with Society Rock (7-2 favourite) a further length away in third spot.
Paul Hanagan had Mayson racing in the lead after a furlong and the four year old handled the heavy ground with ease as he raced away to score his first win since May 5 at Newmarket four starts back.
Mayson bounced back from a below par fifth at Newcastle on June 30 and a last of fourteen at York on May 16 to take out the Group 1 at Newmarket.
“It’s fantastic for me and Paul. It went wrong at York when he got his leg stuck in the stalls and it was unraceable at Newcastle – you put your foot on the track and water was coming through. This track has taken the rain fantastic. He’s in the Nunthorpe, but he got very upset at York in the stalls, so we’ll see,” Fahey said.
Former Australian trainer sprinter Soul was back in the winner’s list with a four length victory in the Group 3 chrisbeekracing.com Stakes (6 furlongs) on a heavy track at Newbury on Saturday and is also among the Nunthorpe entries.
This followed an impressive fourth behind Black Caviar in the Group 1 £500,000 The Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6 furlongs) at Royal Ascot on June 23.