Ortensia camp upbeat ahead of George bid
Friday 3 August 2012
By Geoffrey Riddle
The Ortensia camp have been bullish all summer but they finally have their ground and Leah Gavranich, the Australian raider’s head lass, could not be more confident ahead of Friday’s Gordon's King George Stakes.
The seven-year-old mare finished a creditable fourth in the July Cup on heavy ground last month at Newmarket having blown her chance at Royal Ascot by being too fresh.
Although the weather has been unsettled on the Sussex Downs this week the course was riding just good today, which is perfect for the dual Group One winner.
“I’m delighted to see the rain has stayed away. I really would have been pulling my hair about if we went to another soft track,” Gavranich told RacingUK.com. “She continues to please us and she’s been working really well. I hope the sun comes out because I want everyone to see how she good looks.”
Ortenisa will carry a 7lb penalty for her victory in the Al Quoz sprint at Meydan in March but it the course, with its downhill nature, that most concerns connections.
Before the July Cup Gavranich worked Ortensia along the July Course twice but she has not had an opportunity to give her charge a look at one of the fastest five furlongs in the country.
William Buick, who has a 12 per cent strike rate at Goodwood, will once again be in the saddle, although he missed the mare’s final piece of serious work due to his successful partnership with Elusive Kate in France at the weekend.
“I’ve watched the races from Goodwood but I’ve been working her here on the July Course, which has some dips and she handled that track really well,” Gavranich added.
“If she’s a front runner I’d exercise caution, but with a few in front of her and for her to concentrate on getting past horses it should not be a problem.
“This is a stepping stone to the Nunthorpe and there will be no excuses.”
Paul Messara will not be travelling over from Australia for the run and Ortensia will be saddled by Tobias Coles, the Newmarket trainer.
Ortensia is housed in Abington Place, Jane Chapple-Hyam’s yard, and among her 16 rivals is Secret Asset, trained by the Australian handler.
Secret Asset was a close second behind Tangerine Trees in France and has since finished a close third in a Singapore Group One event. The grey disappointed in the King's Stand but his Newmarket-based trainer expects better this week.
She said: "Secret Asset has come out of his disappointing run at Royal Ascot in good form and a little bit of give in the ground probably didn't suit him there. I will be hoping it doesn't rain at Goodwood but the horse is in good order and I will be looking for a strong run from him.
"He is a course and distance winner so that has got to help. Admittedly that was in a handicap and on Friday he will be stepping up to Group Two company, but he has done all his gallops and he is fit and well."