Empress could shine for Somervell

Somervell Lee 7810s (427x640)Lee Somervell is hitting Hastings tomorrow with a couple of prominent charges, but it could be a lesser light who could be the surprise package.

The Cambridge trainer (pictured) will saddle up the Gr. 2 winner Addictive Habit in the Gr. 1 $200,000 Windsor Park Plate, in which stablemate Celebrity Miss is also an acceptor, though needing one scratching to make it into the final field.

Celebrity Miss, who will be chasing a hat trick of wins, is likely to bypass a clash with her stablemate and instead tackle the Trinity Hill 2000 with Trudy Thornton again in the saddle.

Thornton will also ride Somervell’s other Hastings prospect, Empress Elect, in the Livamol Optimiser 2000, a rating 75 event.

Empress Elect will be having her third start from Somervell’s stable and has shown good recent form with thirds at Taupo (on a heavy track) and Hastings (when deadheating behind Jimmy Mac on a dead5 surface).

A six-year-old daughter of Holy Roman Emperor, Empress Elect was bred and is part-owned by the Hawkins’ family’s Llanhennock Trust and though still a maiden on New Zealand turf she showed winning form when trained in Sydney by David Payne. Her four Australian wins consisted of one apiece at Randwick, Canterbury, Newcastle and Kembla Grange.

“She showed a lot of ability over there and was sent home to get in foal, but the owners have decided to try her here first,” said Somervell. “I really like her and I’m expecting a good run at Hastings.”

Empress Elect has drawn nicely at barrier two and both her stablemates have also fared well with handy draws. Addictive Habit has drawn the ace in the Windsor Park Plate and Celebrity Miss has barrier three in the Trinity Hill 2000.

Somervell is pleased with the progress made by each of his Hastings prospects, particularly Addictive Habit, who will again be ridden by Sam Spratt.

“Addictive Habit worked really well (last Wednesday) and I’m hoping for a little bit of rain to help him,” said Somervell, “Sam is a bit worried by the inside draw, but he can handle it.”