While most Australians are eagerly awaiting the Black Caviar show in Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, it is another Australian mare who looks set to steal the limelight on the opening day at the famous British Racecourse.
Paul Messara-trained Ortenisa is currently rated a $4.40 favourite to take out the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (1000m) which will jump at 12:05 am (AEST) tomorrow morning.
The two-time Group 1 winner has had an excellent preparation, arriving at Newmarket seven weeks ago following an impressive win in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai.
Speaking on Sky Sports Radio, Messara said he was confident the daughter of Testa Rossa will exhibit similar form to that seen on the Meydan all-weather track when she lines up in a large 23-horse field.
“She is going as well as she was in Dubai,” Messara said.
“I’m really happy with her condition.
“The marketplace has determined what are the ones to beat and I think they’ve got it right.”
With just one victory from five starts on slow or heavy tracks, some predicted showers appear the most likely obstacle to Royal Ascot honours for the star sprinter.
“Ideally I’d like an Australian equivalent of dead to good,” Messara said.
“She’s got mixed form on slow so it’s hard to know.”
Craig Williams has ridden her in both her Group 1 victories, the Winterbottom Stakes and the Al Quoz Sprint, and the star Australian jockey will fly to London from Japan to assume the King’s Stand Stakes ride.
Since being transferred to Messara last year, Ortensia has scored three consecutive victories and now boasts a prize pool of more than $2 million.
The most highly-rated rivals to the Australian mare are British five-year-old Bated Breath and Irish mare Wizz Kid who are both paying $5.50.
Bated Breath boasts a record of six wins from 14 starts while Wizz Kid is fresh off a Group 2 victory in France.