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Can Ortensia Win Wet 2009 Stradbroke?

Craig Williams is worried about the wet track conditions for Ortensia in Saturday’s $1 million Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm as he rates her a three-length better horse on firm ground.

Ironically Williams was held to riding Ortensia in the 1400m feature after he got off her to ride the Grahame Begg-trained All Silent who was a non-acceptor on Wednesday.

Trainer Tony Noonan went to the Queensland stewards for a ruling as he said Williams had given him an undertaking that he would ride the Testa Rossa filly wherever she went.

Begg wasn’t happy with the Eagle Farm track which was rated a heavy (8) and didn’t accept with All Silent.

The Group One Emirates Stakes winner disappointed in a track gallop at Eagle Farm on Tuesday morning.

“I was a lucky recipient as it turned out,” Williams said at Wednesday’s Sandown meeting.

“I haven’t spoken to Mr Begg but it’s said it was due to the track so obviously the horse is okay.”

Williams said Ortensia was having a quiet week on the track following her win with him in the saddle in the Group Two QTC Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm last Saturday.

On a slow (6) track, Ortensia went forward and scored by a short head from Maxisun with last year’s Stradbroke winner Mr Baritone a long head away third.

The three-year-old, who has won seven of her 10 starts and has never finished out of a place, drew barrier 16 in Saturday’s 20-horse field.

“Barrier one has always been the best barrier, I’ve always loved it. There’s nothing you can do about it, you just work around it,” Williams said.

“One thing that’s definitely not in her favour is a soft track and if the race is run later in the day there will be more wear and tear so drawing out might not be that much of a disadvantage.

“I thought on her win the other day she’s probably a three-length better horse on top of the ground – that was my assessment.

“Her action is so much more extended on a dry track. Her action changes by half on soft ground because she’s not as confident. Even her body changes direction which is a sign that she’s not handling the ground.”

Williams has picked up the ride on New Zealand colt Izonit in the Group One Queensland Derby 2009 (2400m), replacing the suspended Damien Oliver, and will ride Choistar in the Group One TJ Smith Plate 2009 (1600m) .

Prepared by Wayne Hillis, Izonit was runner-up to Fulmonti in the Group Two Hollindale Stakes (1800m) two starts back at the Gold Coast.

Williams said Choisir colt Choistar had shown he could handle heavy going with his win in the Fernhill Stakes (1600m) at Randwick three starts back and when runner-up to Carrara in the Doomben Slipper (1350m) at his last start on May 23.

Article by Mark Ryan Aapracing

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