Trainer Paul Messara has his sights firmly set on Royal Ascot for his top class mare after Ortensia took out the Group 1 US$1m Al Quoz Sprint at Dubai on Saturday night.

On Dubai World Cup night that saw other Australian representatives fail, Ortensia put in a superb performance to come from the tail of the field to score by over a length from Sole Power and Joy And Fun.


Al Quoz Sprint winner Ortensia is bound for Royal Ascot next - photo (c) Taron Clarke

Messara naturally was very excited to be part of the glamour race meeting and to come away with a trophy was more than he had expected.

“It has been a once in a lifetime experience, just a thrill to be here and to win like we did was unbelieavable,” he said.

“I thought we had run out of time, she was further back than what we anticipated but Craig timed his run and she was too strong on the line.”

Top Melbourne jockey Craig Williams didn’t get flustered when Ortensia was last early and eased the mare to the outside at the 350m before unleashing her powerful finish to score on the turf at Meydan.

Messara was getting a bit concerned when Ortensia was so far back but had full confidence in Williams knowing that he would time his run perfectly.

“I had my heart in my mouth. I couldn’t believe she won it,” Messara said.

“I jumped so high when she hit the line I lost my phone.”

“At the 400m I was sweating bullets because I thought she would be a lot closer but Craig knew what he was doing. He knows her so well.”

Messara will now make plans for England and has picked out the Group 1 £300,000 The King’s Stand Stakes (1000m) at Royal Ascot on June 19.

“The King’s Stand Stakes looks an ideal race,” he said.

“Black Caviar is going to the Diamond Jubilee so we would want to be avoiding her.”

Trainer Peter Moody has Royal Ascot on the agenda for his champion mare Black Caviar and will be aiming her towards the Group 1 £400,000 The Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) on June 23.

Peter Snowden’s pair Sepoy and Helmet failed to perform up to their best and will now remain under the care of Godolphin trainer Saeed Bin Suroor.

Jockey Kerrin McEvoy said that Sepoy wasn’t comfortable on the artificial Tapeta track and could only beat two runners home when tenth to Krypton Factor in the Group 1 US$2m Dubai Golden Shaheen (1200m) and Helmet over raced in the early stages before fading to finish twelfth to the Aiden O’Brien trained Daddy Long Legs in the Group 2 US$2m UAE Derby (1900m).

Dual Cox Plate winner So You Think will now return to Ireland after finishing fourth to Monterosso in the Group 1 US$10m Dubai World Cup (2000m).

Aiden O’Brien said that the stallion would try to make it back to back Tattersall’s Cup and then head to the Group 1 £400,000 The Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 20.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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