x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

King George Stakes intended to be a dress rehearsal for Ortensia

Travelling groom says giving mare a run tomorrow shortly after July Cup is important so she is not ill-prepared for upcoming Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York next month.

Ortensia was not prepared for Royal Ascot. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
Ortensia was not prepared for Royal Ascot. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images

GOODWOOD, England // Connections of Ortensia are not going to make the same mistake twice and have entered the Australian mare into tomorrow's Group 2 King George Stakes.

After Paul Messara's seven year old won the Al Quoz sprint at Meydan Racecourse in March, she was shipped to Britain in preparation for the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

There was an 11-week gap between those two races and Ortensia was too fresh in the preliminaries and blew her chance.

She ran an encouraging fourth in the July Cup last month and tomorrow's race, for which she carries a Group 1 penalty, is key in her preparation for next month's Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

"Between Meydan and Ascot was too much time and we did want to get a race into her and as it was it blew up in our face," said Leah Gavranich, the mare's travelling head groom.

"In hindsight we probably should have run in the Temple Stakes against Bated Breath and Sole Power, who we beat in Dubai.

"Paul has been looking for races and found this one. The penalty is not ideal but we want to do the right thing about the horse."

Before the July Cup Gavranich gave Ortensia two racecourse sighters of Newmarket but she has not had the same opportunity ahead of tomorrow's five-furlong event.

"I've watched the races from Goodwood on television but I've been working her here at Newmarket, and she handled the July Course, which has some dips, really well," Gavranich said.

"If she was a front-runner I'd exercise caution, but with a few in front of her to allow her to concentrate on getting past horses it should not be a problem."


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