Stradivarius maintains family tradition

Stradivarius and Trudy Thornton after the getting off Miss Wilson at Rotorua. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Stradivarius and Trudy Thornton pictured just after the getting off Miss Wilson at Rotorua. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).


Cambridge trainer Lee Somervell got the unique result he wanted from his debutante Stradivarius at Rotorua last Wednesday.

Stradivarius became the third of Kapsjoy’s progeny to win on debut at Rotorua, following on from his Group One-winning sister Fleur De Lune and his half-brother Kapsboy. And all have been prepared by Somervell.

“That’s why I picked here to give him his first start,” said Somervell after the victory in the Lion Red – Kaspers Sports Bar 2YO. “He’d won at the Cambridge trials and I find that form reflects well here, plus I knew he had the ability.

“He came up against a smart one in John Bary’s filly (Miss Wilson, a half-sister to Jimmy Choux) but he got the job done. It’s a great thrill.”

Fleur de Lune’s debut win at Rotorua came in January 2011, two years before she credited Somervell with his biggest highlight when winning the Gr. 1 Sistema Railway Stakes at Ellerslie. Kapsboy’s debut win was at the June Rotorua meeting a year after his half-sister and he has gone on to win five more races.

Stradivarius had impressed rider Trudy Thornton in his two trials wins, at Matamata on February 24 and at Cambridge a month later, so much so that she declared him as her Derby horse after the Matamata trial.

“The more you ask him, the more he gives,” said Thornton. “He’s a lovely horse and I could see him getting through to the Derby next season.”

Stradivarius demonstrated his will-to-win on the heavy track last Wednesday when knuckling down to fight off Miss Wilson, who had looked the likely winner early in the run home. The pair had the finish to themselves, being three and a half lengths clear of third-placed Tatters, and at the winning post Stradivarius was a long head in front.

Stradivarius is raced by elderly Hawke’s Bay couple John and Colleen Duncan, who shared in the joy of racing Fleur De Lune with the late Ada Parnwell. The same partnership raced Kapsboy until he was sent south to Steven Prince’s Wingatui stable late last year.

Since leaving Stradivarius (by Stravinsky), Kapsboy has produced a filly by Civics, who stands at Cambridge Lodge under the management of Somervell. “She’s a weanling now and a lovely filly,” said Somervell.

Stradivarius is likely to start next at Te Rapa on May 2 in the Listed $50,000 Wentwood Grange Stakes.