Campaign ending at Rotorua

Cambridge trainer Lee Somervell will have one more throw of the dice with his stable star Fleur de Lune this campaign.

 Somervell confirmed he will start the multiple Group One placegetter in the Listed $50,000 Rotorua Stakes at Rotorua on May 12 and he is hoping the daughter of Stravinsky can end her current campaign on a winning note in the fillies and mares weight-for-age 1400 metres.

“It’s the same race in which she ran second to Dowager Queen last year,” said Somervell. “Hopefully she can go one better this time.”

Dowager Queen carried a mere 46kg and beat Fleur de Lune by three-quarters of a length with Somervell’s mare having to concede her 9kgs.

Fleur de Lune had finished third in the Group I NZ Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha before the Rotorua placing and since then she has contested four Group One races for three placings and a sixth. She was third to Mufhasa and Jimmy Choux in the Makfi Challenge Stakes at Hastings last September and her most recent two starts have both been at the same level.

 She came frustratingly close to crediting Somervell with his first Group One success when beaten a nose by Say No More in the Fiber Fresh NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes at Te Aroha on April 7 then she backed up a week later and ran third behind Veyron and Postmans Daughter in the Manco Easter Handicap at Ellerslie. Somervell firmly believes Fleur de Lune should have been a placing closer to Veyron at Ellerslie as she was hampered in the run home by the eventual runner-up, Postmans Daughter.

 Somervell says he did briefly consider running Fleur de Lune in the Group II Travis Stakes at Te Rapa last Saturday, but decided to instead wait until next season to try her over 2000 metres. “I think she will get 2000 all right,” he said. “But she’s done a fair bit this campaign and I decided it’s better to freshen her to drop back to 1400 at Rotorua.”

Fleur de Lune is likely to again be aimed at the Hawke’s Bay Group One 1400 and 1600-metre events next season and if she performs well in both he may consider the last leg of the Triple Crown, the 2020-metre Spring Classic.

Meantime Somervell will be hoping to earn stablemate Allende a start in both the $40,000 Cornwall Handicap (2200m) at Ellerslie on June 2 and the Listed Kiwifruit Cup at Tauranga. Allende will be on trial for both events when she contests the BNZ Partners 2100 at Te Rapa on Saturday.