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Ortensia and Williams Win Winterbottom Stakes

Melbourne star Craig WiIliams gained a Group One consolation win of sorts in Perth on Saturday when he rode top class mare Ortensia to her second win in the $500,000 Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot.

Craig Williams
Craig Williams
Photo by Racing and Sports

The win was a triumph for Williams on his last day of riding in Australia before heading to Japan to take up a six weeks contract.

Williams endured his biggest career disappointment earlier this month when suspension robbed him of the winning Melbourne Cup ride on Dunaden and also Ortensia's first-up win at the Flemington carnival.

Formerly trained by Tony Noonan, Ortensia Horseform was headed to the broodmare barn but owner Alister Fraser decided to give her another preparation and sent her to Paul Messara, his Hunter Valley neighbour at Scone in NSW.

The winner of the 2009 Winterbottom when it was a Group 2 race, Ortensia was stripped of her 2010 Group 1 Galaxy trophy due to a positive swab.

"To win a Group One win on this mare is great," Williams said.

"She deserved to have it. She had one and she lost it.

"She was awesome today. I have such a great relationship with her. I trust her and she was really good."

Ortensia beat Rarefied by a length with Grand Nirvana a close third.

"I'm overwhelmed," Fraser said.

"I semi retired her but I thought there was still something left.

"I wanted her to go out on top. I thought she she deserved to go out a winner."

Fraser said he and Messara would discuss whether to give Ortensia another preparation in the autumn before she goes to stud.

Williams also won the Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m) on King Saul for leading Perth trainer Trevor Andrews.

Top Sydney jockey Kerrin McEvoy' had a day he would prefer to forget after he finished second aboard Rarefied after losing the $1 million Railway Stakes on protest after being first home aboard Kiwi galloper He's Remarkable.

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