Ortensia strikes for Australia in Al Quoz Sprint

Ortensia struck another blow for the prowess of Australian turf sprinters as the mare burst from near the tail of the field to win the Group 1 US$1 million Al Quoz Sprint, sponsored by Emirates NBD.

Trained by Paul Messara and coolly ridden by Craig Williams, Ortensia looked to have plenty to do halfway during the 1,000m dash down the Meydan straight before unleashing a matchless finishing kick in the final furlong to score by a length and quarter from Irish sprinter Sole Power with Joy And Fun and neck back in third.

The winning time of 57.98 seconds was three-tenths of a second outside the track record.

Ortensia has maintained a perfect three for three record since joining Messara last year and the young trainer was overjoyed saying: I had my heart in my mouth. I cant believe she has won it. I jumped so high when she hit the line I lost my phone! At the 400m I was sweating bullets because I thought she would be a lot closer but Craig knew what he was doing. He knows her so well. She goes to England in seven days and she is going to run in the Kings Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot over the same distance.

Williams returned to scale with the Australian flag draped over his shoulders and was celebrating the first Aussie winner on World Cup night since Elvstroem in the 2005 Dubai Duty Free.

I have had 20 rides on the mare for four wins she has been unlucky in a few but she was brilliant today, the winning rider said.

We knew what her weaknesses were going but we also knew her strengths and the race panned out perfectly. I was able to get into clear running inside the last 300m and she had an explosive turn of foot.