Part-time horse show ringmaster Lee Somervell broke his Group One duck when Fleur De Lune charged home for a convincing Railway Stakes victory at Ellerslie.
Fleur De Lune had placed five times in Group One races before Tuesday but she took advantage of a favourable weight to race past the field with 250m to go and win comfortably by 1-1/4 lengths.
Somervell worked with horses on the Lord of the Rings movies before becoming a private trainer for Cambridge owner Ada Parnwell, for whom he acts as ringmaster at the Cambridge Horse Shows for tourists three or four times a month.
“It is a little bit of a pain because we’ve got a bigger team now – we’ve got 12 in work now – and it’s quite a commitment but I love doing them and showing the tourists all about horses.”
Under the set weights with penalties conditions, Group winners were penalised but not Group placegetters, allowing Fleur De Lune, a multiple placegetter at Group One weight-for-age conditions, to get in with 53kg.
“The only Group race she’s won is the Foxbridge Plate which was Group Three so she only got a kilo penalty so she had to come in with a huge chance at the weights,” Somervell said.
“If she went to the Telegraph (at Trentham later this month) she’d get 57.5 (kilograms).”
Fleur De Lune settled three back for jockey Jason Jago and had a huge gap open up for her 350m out, which she took full advantage of.
“I’ve been very loyal to Jason, but he’s got a real affinity with this mare. Nobody else has won on her,” Somervell said.
“I get criticised sometimes for putting him on but when he’s on his game he’s terrific.”
Somervell says Fleur De Lune is likely to head to the Waikato Sprint in February and the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes at Te Aroha in April.
Jetset Lad ran on well for second ahead of Durham Town, who was caught wide in the running.