Messara targets Knavesmire glory
Tuesday 14 August 2012
Australian trainer Paul Messara has high hopes for Ortensia in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York on Friday week.
The seven-year-old mare showed her true colours with a sparkling win in the King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood after being slightly disappointing in her first two races in Britain, in the King's Stand Stakes and the July Cup, although she was fourth in the latter.
"She's in great form. She came through her last race really well and we were happy with her work this morning," said Messara.
"Her conditions came right at Goodwood and she showed how good she is. The warmer weather has really helped her and I'm looking forward to running her at York."
Ortensia clocked devastating sectionals at Goodwood, moving through the third and second-last furlongs in 10.38 seconds and 10.54 seconds before slowing in the final furlong once victory was assured in 12.16. She registered 10.12 in the second furlong, but was bettered by Angels Will Fall at 9.98.
The Nunthorpe has been the aim for David Barron's progressive sprinter Pearl Secret for some time and he goes into the race unbeaten in four starts. He has won over course and distance twice and was last seen winning a Listed race at Sandown in decent fashion.
North Yorkshire-based Barron said: "I am very happy with Pearl Secret and he worked very well this morning. Ideally I'd like him to have more experience coming into a race like this as it is a big step up.
"However, he is a very good horse and he has won at York twice before. He needs a fast pace, but I can't see that not happening in the Nunthorpe.
"He was a little nervous in his younger days and we were keen to avoid the buzz of Ascot for a bit longer, deciding that York was a better time to step him up."
Godolphin could run Soul who finished best of the British-trained runners when third behind Black Caviar in the Golden Jubilee Stakes before easily winning the Hackwood Stakes at Newbury.
Racing manager Simon Crisford said: "If the ground came up soft I could see him running a huge race. If the ground was quick he may not be fast enough for five furlongs at York as his main targets are over six."
Ortensia and Pearl Secret are a best-priced 6-1 for the Group One sprint with Ladbrokes while Soul is 14-1 with the same firm behind 7-2 favourite Bated Breath.
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