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Messara's Ground Concerns
Sporting Life - Messara's Ground Concerns">Messara's Ground Concerns
Sporting Life


A rare spell of sunshine in Newmarket came as a particularly welcome sight to trainer Paul Messara as he looks towards Royal Ascot.

Messara is in the racing town to oversee the preparation of Ortensia ahead of Tuesday's King's Stand Stakes and he believes soft ground would be an impediment to his mare.

The seven-year-old sprinter is unbeaten from three starts in the 34-year-old's care, including the Group One Winterbottom Stakes at the Australian Ascot and most recently when turning over Sole Power in the Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night at Meydan.

"It is a bit of a concern - she's got mixed form on rain-affected tracks but she's definitely better on top of the ground there's no doubt. She does have a devastating turn of foot when she's right and that slow ground might take away a bit of that dash," Messara said.

"I think if it was a dry track I'd be feeling confident. It's going to be very tough race. With Black Caviar running on Saturday the competition has increased but a lot of the favourites also prefer firm ground and I think a lot of us are in the same boat."

Ortensia went straight to Newmarket from the Gulf as her trainer wanted to learn the lessons from his previous Royal Ascot runner Alverta, who ran no sort of race in the Golden Jubilee Stakes but bounced back to finish third in the July Cup.

"We decided this time to get here as early as could," he said.

"We had a few problems travelling last time, it was well documented our horse lost a lot of weight and this time we wanted to be sure to get here early, get acclimatised and give ourselves every chance.

"She travelled brilliantly from Dubai to here. Breaking up the trip helped as well and she's in top order."

Messara will play it by ear whether Ortensia has another run at the meeting against her celebrated compatriot Black Caviar in Saturday's Golden Jubilee and said: "Obviously horse welfare is number one but if the weather was fine and dry I might send her out again."

View the original article over at Sporting Life

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