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More than six lengths separated Black Caviar and arguably the next best pure sprinting mare in Australia in their one and only meeting.

Trainer Paul Messara has started work on at least reducing the width of that margin as he prepares Ortensia for the Lightning Stakes at Flemington in February.

The 1000m weight-for-age sprint will be renamed the Black Caviar Lightning and the horse it is honouring is tipped to be the star attraction if a comeback to racing goes to plan.

It will also be a return race for Ortensia after her 2012 campaign netted Group One wins in Dubai and England.

“We are looking at the Lightning Stakes with her, more than likely first-up,” Messara said.

“Being a well-performed sprinter, handicaps are probably out of the question now and we’ll just have to pick and choose her races.”

When Black Caviar posted the first of her 12 Group One wins in the 2010 Patinack Farm Classic, she left Ortensia 6-1/4 lengths in her wake in the minor placing.

It’s a measure of Black Caviar’s obvious dominance of Australian sprinters that Ortensia – barring one or two hiccups – has made her mark on world racing with Al Quoz Sprint and Nunthorpe Stakes triumphs to complement her Australian Group One win in the Winterbottom Stakes.

Her achievements have been recognised, along with Black Caviar, with a nomination in the champion sprinter category for Europe’s annual Cartier Racing Awards.

Like most in racing, Messara is waiting to see if Black Caviar still has the fire for competition but the great mare’s future won’t shape how he prepares Ortensia.

“Obviously Black Caviar has got to come back but if she does, then we won’t be dodging her,” Messara said.

Ortensia enjoyed a leisurely return to work at Messara’s training complex at Scone on Monday.

“It was her first day back at the track and she just had a trot around,” he said.

Messara says Dubai would be the pick of any overseas destination should Ortensia’s form earn her the right to more international travel.

“Certainly we are looking at Dubai again,” he said.

“The race (Al Quoz Sprint) is perfectly set up for her and she has been there and done it and has been successful.

“The conditions really suit her so there are plenty of things in her favour.

“Beyond that there is a lot of water to flow under the bridge before we make any other plans.”

 
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