Glorious for Aussies with Ortensia
Friday 3 August 2012
1 Ortensia (W Buick) 6-1 Jtfav
2 Spirit Quartz (L Dettori) 7-1
3 Masamah (J P Spencer) 12-1
By Geoffrey Riddle
Ortensia defied a Group One penalty to become the first Australian winner at Glorious Goodwood with an easy victory in the Gordon's King George Stakes today.
William Buick was patience personified on the Australian raider and the pair eased down a length and a quarter clear of Spirit Quartz, ridden by Frankie Dettori, and Masamah.
Bookmakers were deeply impressed with the mare, who had to shoulder 7lbs for her Al Quoz sprint success in March, and they slashed the seven-year-old for the Nunthorpe Stakes at York in three week’s time.
“If you went through her previous form she was head and shoulders above the rest,” Buick said. “Her class got her through. It is fantastic for connections and I’m glad it worked out.”
Coral were most impressed and priced up Ortensia as the 5-1 joint favourite alongside Bated Breath and Pearl Secret. Ladbrokes offer the best-price at 7-1.
Ortensia was a little slow to break and Buick had to take a pull two furlongs in to prevent his mount progressing through the field too early.
The 24-year-old rider tracked Jim Crowley on Pabusar and two furlongs from home made his move. Although his request was not answered instantly the mare picked up beautifully in the final furlong to put the race to bed.
“It was brilliant. She did it so easily,” Leah Gavranich, Ortensia’s confident travelling head groom, said. “The ground wasn’t perfect and she’ll be more explosive on firmer ground. William took really good care of her.
Ortensia’s victory was different to her success in Dubai, where she won with a lightning injection of pace. Tobias Coles, acting trainer in the absence of Paul Messara, explained that the mare struggled with the unique configuration of Goodwood’s downhill sprint course.
“Things didn’t go well in the early stages of the race and then she got a bit of air and came through easily. William wasn’t hard on her,” Coles, who knows Messara through a stint in Australia, said. “She saw a bit of downhill at Newmarket but otherwise a course like this is an unknown. They don’t like have anything like this in Australia."
Messara stated after the July Cup that Ortensia would be retired after the Nunthorpe but with Buick suggesting that the six furlongs of the Haydock Sprint Cup in September would be perfectly suited to his mount Messara and his owners face a difficult decision.
Both Spirit Quartz and Masamah will renew rivalry with Ortensia at York but it was Kevin Ryan, and not Robert Cowell, who was the most confident.
“The ground has been the problem for Masamah,” said Ryan. “He need it at least good and it’s been a frustrating old year for us. We had to give him a couple of runs because you can’t keep them locked up all year.
“He’s run a blinder and we’ll go to York next.”