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York

  • 15:40 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes 5f

  • (British Champions Series) (Group 1) £250,000 added 2yo+ 19 ran
  • Winner £141,775 2nd £53,750 3rd £26,900 4th £13,400
  • Going: Good
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 0m 57.62s
  • Off time: 15:43:07

Ortensia leaves it late

Mare overcomes slow start to lift Group One prize

Last Updated: 24/08/12 5:19pm

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Ortensia: Got up close home under William Buick

Ortensia: Got up close home under William Buick

Australian mare Ortensia claimed another big British prize when lifting the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

There were concerns that the ground had gone against Paul Messara's charge as it had at Royal Ascot (where she also played up) and at Newmarket in the July Cup but she overcame the rain-softened ground to claim a narrow success.

The seven year old - who had proved what she could do on a sound surface in the King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last time - had a lot of ground to make up from the rear of the huge field having been hit by a stalls blindfold discarded late by Eddie Ahern.

Telling Run

However, William Buick conjured a telling run out of the daughter of Testa Rossa to challenge against the far side rail and edge home by a neck.

Spirit Quartz, second to the winner at Goodwood, got closer this time with the pair clear of the front-running Hamish McGonagall who ran a huge race on his favoured Knavesmire turf.

Buick said: "It's fantastic, I don't know how she won, to be honest.

"They went very fast and I was a long way back, but I could hold a straight course the whole way and she's so much better when she doesn't have to be switched in or out.

"You could see the way she finished the race she's got so much speed and I think if she steps back up to six (furlongs) again, she'll be very hard to beat.

Never Been Quicker

"I don't think I've been quicker in a race before and they just got her off the bridle, but when she gets to the furlong and a half marker she hits that sixth gear and picks up well.

"The ground is a little bit loose, so that probably didn't help her early on - we were kind of wheelspinning a bit.

"She showed at Goodwood what she can do to these sprinters and she showed today she's superior to the sprinters over here."

Huge Thrill

Messara said: "It's fabulous. It's the most amazing feel. To win a big one over here is a huge thrill.

"I couldn't believe it yesterday when it poured down. I thought we were coming here with no chance.

"I walked the track this morning and again thought we didn't have a chance. I just thought it was too soft for her to show her acceleration.

"Anyway, we're here and she's done it, just."

Messara confirmed that Ortensia is now likely to head for the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock on September 8.

Spirit Quartz's trainer Robert Cowell said: "He runs his heart out and he's going to be a very exciting five-year-old next year now he has learned how to sprint.

"We must have made up a few pounds on the winner on that performance and half a furlong out I thought we might win, but (Ortensia) was making up ground hand over fist.

"The Prix de l'Abbaye might be our next port of call and I might give him a break and not take him to Dubai, so we save him for next season."

Provided the ground is quick enough, Bated Breath will renew rivalry with Ortensia at Haydock after finishing sixth.

"Yep too slow for Bated Breath. He just can't quicken on that ground, Haydock next in two weeks hopefully he will get some fast ground," tweeted his trainer Roger Charlton.

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