Fleur confirms this is her year Sat, 18 Aug 2012
Fleur De Lune confirmed trainer Lee Somervell’s belief that her time has come when she reversed the placings of 12 months ago to down Fritzy Boy in the Waikato Stud Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa today.
Victory in the $70,000 Group Three feature was the five-year-old mare’s first at black-type level and was thoroughly deserved after she had notched numerous feature placings over the previous two seasons.
In just her sixth start as an autumn three-year-old she finished third in the Gr. 1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes, the same race in which was beaten just a nose last April. Other placings amongst the 10 on her record include thirds in the Gr. 1 Easter Handicap and the Gr. 1 Makfi Challenge Sakes.
“For a long time I’ve felt that this season as a five-year-old would be her year,” said Somervell, who trains the Stravinsky mare for her breeder Ada Parnwell and Hawke’s Bay couple John and Colleen Duncan.
“She’s been giving me a good feeling all the way through this preparation but I was prepared to see her run in the money without necessarily winning today. I figured she was only 80 per cent fit for this, so it’s exciting to think how much improvement there is in her.”
Last spring Fleur De Lune had to settle for third to Mufhasa and Jimmy Choux in the Makfi Challenge Stakes. Despite her win today, the TAB was still offering her at $10 on the fixed odds market behind Mufhasa, who remains a dominant $3.50 favourite.
“I’m very happy with where she’s at,” said Somervell. “With natural improvement from this run she’ll be there to give them a shake.”
Regular rider Jason Jago backed Somervell’s view after he had brought Fleur De Lune home half a length clear of Fritzy Boy.
“She came back under me lovely and travelled up really strong,” said Jago. “I knew I had them covered from the home turn.”
Fritzy Boy’s trainer Alby McGregor was also left in keen anticipation of the Makfi Challenge Stakes – a race he won four years ago and finished third and fifth in the two most recent editions – after a setback last week left him slightly underdone.
Xanadu, who started favourite today, did her Makfi Stakes prospects no harm with a solid finish into third, although co-trainer Ken Kelso remains concerned that off her current rating of 90 she may not be guaranteed a start at Hastings.