No Brisbane trip for Fleur

Cambridge trainer Lee Somervell has stuck by his pre-race opinion with Fleur de Lune in regard to a possible trip to Brisbane.

Somervell had set the bar for Fleur de Lune in the Listed Windsor Park Stud Rotorua Stakes at Rotorua last Saturday, claiming she must either win the fillies and mares race or be desperately unlucky to press on and accept an invitation from the Brisbane Racing Club to start in the Gr.1 $A1 million Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm on June 8.

Freshened since finishing seventh in the Gr.1 Fiber Fresh NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes at Te Aroha on April 6, Fleur de Lune struggled in the very testing ground at Rotorua and wound up seventh, almost nine lengths from the winner I Do.

“She was well-ridden and put in the race, but she didn’t like the very heavy track,” said Somervell. “Unfortunately we won’t be going. Ada (part-owner Ada Parnwell) was quick to rule out the trip after the race and I have to agree with her. It’s very disappointing, but you can’t go on that run. Everything had to go right to justify her going over to Brisbane.”

Fleur de Lune was settled handy by regular rider Jason Jago and was right in the action on the home turn, but just battled in the run home while the main players, I Do and No Excuse Maggie, came down the outside of the track.

“She’s handled the wet tracks before, but mainly when going through the lower grades,” said Somervell. “On good ground she would have sprinted away from where she was on the turn, but the wet ground held her up.

“ Now she prefers better ground, like it was in the Railway. That was a Good 3 track and last year when she was just beaten in the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes at Te Aroha it was on a good track.”

Fleur de Lune has now gone out for a spell and will resume for similar races she contested early season last year. One of the early missions will be the Gr.3 Waikato Stud Foxbridge Plate she won last August before finishing second to Mufhasa two starts later in the Gr.1 Windsor Park Stud Plate at Hastings.

“It’ll all depend on how she comes up in the spring whether she goes to stud this year or next,” said Somervell. “At the moment, the owners are thinking they might get another season out of her.”

Meantime Fleur de Lune’s three-year-old half-brother Kapsboy may back up at Te Rapa this weekend despite failing at Rotorua last Saturday. Having his first run in four months, Kapsboy finished eighth of 12 behind Copacabana over 1200 metres.

“I took the blinkers off because I thought he didn’t need them now, but they’ll be going back on again,” said Somervell. “He just didn’t switch on. He really hasn’t had a race so I might back him up at Te Rapa.”

Kapsboy won on debut at Rotorua last June then finished third to Move Faster in the Listed Brancott Estate Ryder Stakes at Otaki in his other juvenile start.