Ortensia (right) runs down Spirit Quartz to win the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes.<br><a target="blank" href="http://photos.bloodhorse.com/AtTheRaces-1/at-the-races-2012/22274956_jFd5jM#!i=2044867909&k=BvzWdSj">Order This Photo</a>

Ortensia (right) runs down Spirit Quartz to win the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes.
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Trevor Jones

Ortensia Charges Late to Take Nunthorpe

Australian sprint star notches third group I victory Aug. 24 at York.

Australian sprint star Ortensia notched the third group I victory of her career as she ran down Spirit Quartz in the shadow of the wire to win the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (Eng-I) at York Racecourse Aug. 24.

The Nunthorpe win was the first group I victory in England for the 7-year-old mare by Testa Rossa. She had previously won the Al Quoz Sprint (UAE-IT) at Meydan in addition to the Winterbottom Stakes (Aus-I) in her native country.

A field of 19 went to the post in the five-furlong Nunthorpe, with the Paul Messara-trained Ortensia co-favored along with the Roger Charlton's Bated Breath. The connections of the Juddmonte homebred were hoping that the Nunthorpe would be the race in which the son of Dansili would finally break through for his first group I victory.

Hamish McGonagall broke sharply and shot straight to the front under David Allan. Ortensia was off a step or two slowly under William Buick, and found herself toward the rear of the field through the first couple of furlongs.

Hamish McGonagall continued to zip along on the front end, running somewhat by himself on the far side of the track. The bulk of the field was spread wide across the track, with several runners still with a chance with a furlong and a half to run.

Spirit Quartz, under Frankie Dettori, suddenly emerged from the pack and began to reel in the pacemaker The 4-year-old gelding overtook the longtime leader with 100 yards to go and seemed to have the race within his grasp.

Ortensia, under an all-out drive by Buick, was in full flight on the far outside and came charging toward the leaders, but it looked as though she was not going to get there in time. She continued to dig in, and was able to collar Spirit Quartz near the wire to win by a neck.

Hamish McGonagall was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third. Final time for the five furlongs was 57.62 seconds over the good to firm going.

After the race, a delighted Messara told reporters, "It's fabulous. It's the most amazing feeling. To win a big one over here is a huge thrill."

Messara indicated that the Betfred Sprint Cup (Eng-I) Sept. 8 would be Ortensia's next start.

Ortensia was bred in Australia by L.D. Rhodes, and is owned by the partnership of A.D.N. and C.N. Fraser, and E.J.H. Ridley. She is out of Aerate's Pick, an unraced daughter of Picnicker.