Kiwis keen on Brisbane

Trips to Queensland will be on the minds of Cambridge trainers Shelley Hale and Lee Somervell when they tackle the two features events at Rotorua tomorrow.

Hale is hoping to pick up some expenses for a Queensland winter campaign with Sum Up in the $70,000 Campbell Infrastructure Rotorua Cup, while Somervell will have his stable star Fleur de Lune on trial for a tilt at the $A1 million Gr.1 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm on June 8 when contesting the Listed Windsor Park Stud Rotorua Stakes.

Hale had originally booked Sum Up on yesterday’s charter flight to Brisbane, but had to cancel the booking after Alley Newman, her “right-hand man,” was injured late last week. The horse Newman was riding reared over backwards and the horsewoman ended up in Waikato Hospital with fractures to her pelvis.

“Her getting hurt put a spanner in the works,” said Hale. “There’s no way I could go over right now. It wouldn’t have been fair on my owners. Hopefully I can still get there with him (Sum Up) once I get things worked out here.”

Hale had hoped to kick off Sum Up’s Brisbane campaign in the Gr.3 $A125,000 Premier’s Cup (2200m) on May 25, but the main targets for the horse are later in the carnival, including the Caloundra and Tatt’s Cup.”

Meanwhile Sum Up rates a top chance in tomorrow’s Rotorua Cup, a race in which he was an unlucky second 12 months ago. His leadup form is solid and his latest run was a fourth behind Survived in the Gr.3 Hawke’s Bay Gold Cup.

“He tied up the last bit under his big weight (59kg) at Hastings and he’s better off on Saturday,” said Hale, who has top hoop Opie Bosson engaged for the talented stayer.

Two races after Sum Up competes, Fleur de Lune will resume from a recent break in the Rotorua Stakes, hoping to improve slightly on the past two attempts at the race. Two years ago she was beaten by the two-year-old Dowager Queen when giving her 9kgs and last year she was third to Oak Park and Zennista.

A day after Somervell brought Fleur de Lune back into work from her run in the Gr.1 Fiber Fresh NZ Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes on April 6, he received an invitation from the Brisbane Racing Club for the mare to compete in the Stradbroke Handicap.

“I hadn’t even considered the Stradbroke, but the more I looked at it after we got the invite, the more it’s fitted in,” said Somervell. “The timing is perfect after this Rotorua race and the 1400 metres suits her over there.

“It’s a great honour to be invited. I’ve been in contact with the Brisbane club and tentatively booked her in, but will confirm everything after the Rotorua race. She will need to win well or be pretty unlucky to go.”