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Ryder Stakes locked in for gallant filly

3 minute read

Ortega has earned a late season shot at black type following her midweek success at Pukekohe.

ORTEGA winning the FIRST WEANLINGS BY SWORD OF STATE Picture: Race Images Photo

The juvenile daughter of Reliable Man produced a tenacious performance at her second appearance to break her maiden over 1200m on Wednesday for trainer Stephen Marsh and rider Masa Hashizume.

"She did a good job, she was very gutsy after racing wide and worked pretty hard, so it was a really good effort," Marsh said.

The Cambridge horseman will keep Ortega ticking over and head to the Central Districts next month for the final two-year-old feature of 2023/24.

"She seems to have come through the race well and at the end of July is the Ryder Stakes (Listed, 1200m)," Marsh said.

"She handles wet ground so we'll have a go at that for some black type and if she could win then she's a valuable filly.

"That's what we'll be doing and with the gap between races we can nurse her along and she could have a jump-out or a trial somewhere before that next run."

While Ortega  has proven adept in winter conditions, Marsh doesn't believe she is a one trick pony.

"She's one of those fillies that is tough and very genuine, she is getting through the wet tracks because she's so gutsy," he said.

"She has a great attitude and will to win and I certainly don't think she's just a wet tracker."

Ortega set up a winning double for the stable at Pukekohe with Penurious later accounting for her Benchmark 65 rivals over 2200m under rider Tegan Newman.

"She won very well and she's a nice stayer on the rise," Marsh said.

By the late Sacred Falls , Penurious  has won twice during a relatively brief career with both victories posted over middle distances.

Meanwhile, Marsh will only have two runners at Saturday's feature meeting with Dubai Diva and Hasstobefast in the Listed Team Wealleans Tauranga Classic (1400m).

"It's a throw at the stumps, Dubai Diva was great first-up and has a good second-up record and she's got a bit of black type and I would love to see her add to it," he said.

Runner-up behind the champion mare Imperatriz in the Gr.3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) as a three-year-old, Dubai Diva ran second after a chequered run when resuming at Pukekohe last month.

Hasstobefast has finished fifth in both of her runs at Pukekohe and on the synthetic track at Cambridge this preparation.

"She was a bit plain second-up the other day, but she has trained on well since," Marsh said.

He will also have runners at the Amberley meeting at Riccarton on Saturday.

"I quite like Miss Nico Belle and Thee Auld Minx, both are racing well are drawn to be right in it," Marsh said.

Miss Nico Belle runs in the Daphne Bannan Memorial Open Handicap (1200m) off the back of a win and a third on the all-weather track at Riccarton.

Thee Auld Minx will shoot for two on the bounce in the Cup Week Hospitality On Sale 26 June Handicap (1000m) after effortlessly breaking her maiden last time out at Timaru.

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