Excitement continues for Somervell

Cambridge trainer Lee Somervell went from the excitement of the Calgary Stampede in Canada to the winner’s circle at Tauranga today.

Somervell and his wife, Nell, returned yesterday morning from a trip to Canada with the highlight being the famous Calgary Stampede. And any jetlag Somervell may have been feeling was soon wiped away when he watched his first-starter Addictive Habit win the Lion Red — Mount Maunganui RSA 1200 today.

Somervell already had the Listed $50,000 Brancott Estate Ryder Stakes (1200m) at Otaki on July 28 on the agenda for Kapsboy, a half-brother to stable star Fleur de Lune who won on debut at the Rotorua meeting last month. And now Addictive Habit has also put himself into contention for the Levin Racing Club feature.

“For a little trainer like me it’s huge to have two runners in a stakes race,” said Somervell. “Kapsboy is being set for the race, though he’s had a bit of a setback with the trials called off at Cambridge yesterday, and I could run this horse (Addictive Habit), too. He’s got a lovely temperament and has shown ability right from the outset.”

Addictive Habit is the first two-year-old winner for Colombia, who is better known as a sire of horses who need more time and usually more distance than the 1200 metres of today’s event. He is from the Sky Chase mare Chasing The Habit, a half-sister to the champion galloper Rough Habit.

“He’s the only outside horse I’m training,” said Somervell, who is private trainer for Cambridge Thoroughbred Lodge’s owner, Ada Parnwell. “It’s through having Rough Habit at the Lodge that I’ve been able to train this one.”

Rough Habit, part of the Horse Magic show at the Lodge, was bred by Isabel Roddick , who also owns and is part of the syndicate which races Addictive Habit.

“When Isabel asked if I’d take him (Addictive Habit) I said I’d love to,” said Somervell. “He’d already been broken in and was such a lovely horse to do anything with.”

Addictive Habit had a couple of trials with the best result being a second over 700 metres at Paeroa on June 12. He was due to start a week ago, but the decision was made to wait for yesterday’s contest.

Ridden by Jason Jago, Addictive Habit tracked the leader Agostini and worked to the front early in the run home. He then stuck to his guns strongly to hold out Move Faster, who made a solid claim down the outside, to score by a length and a half.

“Jason said he was really only doing half-pace,” said Somervell. “The horse doesn’t know much yet. He did it all on raw ability.”

Somervell credited Addictive Habit’s win to the work of his foreperson, Wendy McGowan. “She looked after the team and did a great job,” said Somervell.

Addictive Habit’s win was part of a big day for Cambridge trainers, who won six races on the nine-race programme including the first five events. Lady Jaffe, from Chris McNab’s stable, started the ball rolling when taking the Farewell John Humphries 1200 then Addictive Habit chimed in and was followed by wins from Just Ideal, trained by Graeme Thomas and Paul Mirabelli, Keepercrossed, prepared by Graeme Forbes, and Pump Up The Volume (Ralph Manning) in the next three events.

The other Cambridge winner on the programme was Hug A Ginga, who is trained by Earl Harrison and was ridden by Noel Harris.