As the trainer of the favourite for the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes, Paul Messara is trying to keep his excitement in check ahead of the super Saturday meeting at Ascottomorrow.
Messara has Ortensia in the race, a classy mare carrying the hopes of plenty of punters around Australia.
A win for Ortensia would be even more special than usual for Messara as she’s a horse that was retired only a few months ago.
Rather than an injury or horrible form she was simply going to be sent to stud where she would have been a very attractive broodmare prospect.
The decision was made though to bring her back for another go, a big gamble for a horse in her position.
While it would be easily justified for a horse that had yet to perform, Ortensia had already earned her spot in the breeding barn and had little left to prove.
Connections made the decision purely out of love for racing and the punt she still had more to offer on the track.
It’s a punt that’s already come off after her dominant first up win up the straight at Flemington, but a Group 1 at Ascot would further reward the faith of the team.
Messara says it’s a very real likelihood as well as Ortensia has been flying ever since getting to Perth.
“She’s been fine, hopefully she continues for the next day and everything will be spot on for Saturday,” he said.
“I think we’ve got her nice and fresh and she’s certainly feeling well…won in Melbourne in the same condition she is in at the moment.”
Ortensia drew gate two for the Winterbottom Stakes, an alley that will let her lob somewhere in the first half without too much effort.
“I think we’re in a handy position, we’ll be there abouts, I don’t think we need to be too aggressive early,” he said.
Messara also isn’t concerned about potentially sitting hard up against the fence as he suspects they’ll be well fanned out come the turn.
“When she gets her opportunity to really have a crack at them we want clear running at that stage but I’m pretty confident, it’s not a massive field,” he said.
Messara says she’ll continue to race while she continues to show the desire to do so.
“She’s certainly got the willingness to want to race again…whilst she’s there let’s let her go,” he said.