Thumped but bouncing back

Addictive Habit and Stradivarius (background) after an exhibition gallop at Te Aroha earlier this year. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Addictive Habit and Stradivarius (background) after an exhibition gallop at Te Aroha earlier this year. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Lee Somervell was left in shock after the first day of the New Zealand Cup Carnival, but he’s ready to bounce back big-time over the final two days at Riccarton.

The Cambridge trainer had high hopes for his smart three-year-old Stradivarius in the Gr. 1 Sothys NZ 2000 Guineas, but it didn’t go as planned with the son of Stravinsky finishing third-last. And what happened after the race had Somervell in shock.

“He suffered from the thumps,” said Somervell. “I’ve never had a horse suffer from them before and it was frightening watching him heaving like he did. I thought he was going to die.

“Fortunately he was treated immediately and he’s come right. He’s back in Cambridge now and seems okay, but it gave me a shock at the time.”

“Thumps” is a condition that occurs in horses where there is an irregular spasming of the diaphragm, usually caused by dehydration due to fluid loss and related abnormal electrolyte levels.

It is not uncommon on hot summer days, and often occurs in the endurance field.

Horses can quickly recover from a bout of “thumps” and be competitive at the next start, history which has Somervell more relaxed about Stradivarius’ future.

While frightened by the Stradivarius experience, Somervell was pleased last Saturday with the exhibition gallop between races of Celebrity Miss, who was ridden by Craig Grylls.

“She worked well and I’m happy with her going into the (NZ) Cup next Saturday,” said Somervell. “You don’t know whether they’ll get two miles (3200m) until you try but she gives me the impression she will.”

Between times Somervell will be represented at Riccarton tomorrow by Addictive Habit, who will be attempting back-to-back Gr. 2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile wins on the second day of the carnival tomorrow.

“He’s done well down here and I couldn’t be happier with him,” said Somervell. “You’ve just got to forget his last run.”