Can Fleur de Lune achieve the goal?

Cambridge trainer Lee Somervell has finally reached his immediate goal with Fleur de Lune and he’s relishing the challenge facing the smart mare tomorrow.

Somervell will start Fleur de Lune in the Group I $200,000 Windsor Park Plate, the weight-for-age 1600-metre second leg of the Hawke’s Bay Triple Crown. It will be Fleur de Lune’s third Group One start and she has shown she is up to the top company, having finished third in both the Stewart Browne Group NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes at Te Aroha last April and the Makfi Challenge Stakes, the first leg of the Triple Crown.

“This is the race she has been set for, even before the Foxbridge Plate,” said Somervell. “The 1600 metres is ideal for her and apart from Mufhasa and Jimmy Choux (to whom she finished third in the Makfi Challenge Stakes) over the last four starts she has beaten most of the other main chances.”

Wall Street, Fritzy Boy, Booming, Atom Cat and St Germaine all finished behind Fleur de Lune in the Makfi Challenge Stakes. However, she will be coming up against smart South Island galloper Hold It Harvey, the good stayer Six O’Clock News and the unbeaten and highly regarded Baldovino for the first time.

Fleur de Lune hasn’t finished further back than third innine starts and her last four outings have been in black type company. After her Te Aroha Group I third she was runner-up to Dowager Queen, who carried a featherweight of 46kg, in the Listed Windsor Park Rotorua Stakes and she followed up with a game second to Fritzy Boy in the Group III Waikato Stud Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa.

Fleur de Lune was ridden for the first time by Mark Sweeney in the Foxbridge Plate, but the Te Awamutu jockey then missed the Makfi Challenge Stakes ride through suspension. He is back in the saddle tomorrow and looking forward to the occasion.

“Mark has come over and worked her in the last week and he’s very happy with her,” said Somervell. “I’ve got total respect for the other horses in the field, but I’m confident they’ll know she’s in the race. She keeps rising to the next level.”

Somervell even considered a tilt at the Group I Cox Plate with Fleur de Lune, but has since changed plans. “I haven’t paid up with her,” said Somervell. “After talking it over, I’ve realised there are so many good mares races in Melbourne that she can run in instead of taking on the toughest weight-for-age race. If she does well on Saturday we’ll probably look to taking her over.”

Another option is to stay a bit longer here and tackle the Group I NZ Bloodstock Insurance Spring Classic, the final leg of the Hawke’s Bay Triple Crown on October 1.