Can Fleur prove Somervell right?

Lee Somervell knows he could be walking off Hastings racetrack on Saturday evening being rated either a hero or a fool, but he’s ready to take the gamble.

The Cambridge trainer will be asking his stable star Fleur de Lune to master a middle distance for the first time in the Group I $300,000 NZ Bloodstock Insurance Spring Classic (2040m) and he knows he will have plenty of doubters over her ability at the trip.

“I’ll be either proved right or wrong,” said Somervell. “But I’m enthusiastic about her running 2000 metres and so is Jason (regular rider Jason Jago). She’s ready for it.”

Fleur de Lune hasn’t raced beyond 1600 metres and in fact she hasn’t won past 1400 metres. Her five wins have been at 1200 (twice) and 1400 (three times), but she has come so frustratingly close to landing a feature at 1600, having been Group One placed four times at the metric mile.

She was beaten a mere nose by Say No More in last April’s Fiber Fresh NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes, the Te Aroha feature in which she was a close third 12 months earlier. And she was third in Veyron’s Group I Manco Easter Handicap last season and a last-start second to Mufhasa in the Group I Windsor Park Stud Plate at Hastings.

“Last year I was keen to try her at 2000, but she had a little bit of a hiccup in her preparation,” said Somervell. “She’s very, very well and Jason knows her so well.”

Fleur de Lune looks the natural leader in the Spring Classic and she will most likely take up that role. But Somervell isn’t worried if she is headed.

“If something wants to go faster then they can take over,” he said. “The beauty with her is that she doesn’t have to lead. But there won’t be any cheap sectionals. We’re going in with all guns blazing.”

Somervell will also head south with promising three-year-olds Addictive Habit and Kapsboy. Addictive Habit will contest the Group II DHL Global Hawke’s Bay Guineas and Kapsboy, Fleur de Lune’s half-brother, will run in the Hastings, Heart Of Hawke’s Bay Premier 1200.

Addictive Habit, the mount of Hayden Tinsley, was narrowly beaten by Frank Whitaker at Pukekohe last start after a second to Move Faster in the Listed Brancott Estate Ryder Stakes at Otaki. “He didn’t like the track at Counties,” said Somervell. “The distance should suit him on Saturday.”

Kapsboy clashed with Addictive Habit in both the Ryder and the Pukekohe event and finished third and fourth respectively. “He got a bit of a knock at Counties and this will be a confidence-booster for him on Saturday,” said Somervell.