Francaletta looks for redemption
Forget Francaletta’s last start failure when assessing the form for Saturday’s Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) at Hawera.
Up to 1600 metres second-up in a new campaign proved too much for the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained mare at Awapuni.
‘‘She can bounce back,’’ Forsman said. ‘‘We expect her to run well.
‘‘She’s looking a picture and working well.’’
From a stable currently winning major races on both sides of the Tasman that’s a good wrap and punters agree, installing her as $3.40 favourite in the Group III race with regular rider Michael Coleman aboard.
Last year’s winner Underthemoonlight ($3.60) is second favourite and has returned encouraging track work at Matamata this week.
‘‘We’ve been very happy with her work this week,’’ trainer Karyn McQuade said. ‘‘She’s been working so well.’’
Ridden by race day jockey Cameron Lammas Underthemoonlight worked brilliantly on Tuesday morning running 1000m in 1:02.4.
Connections of Thee Auld Floozie ($7) will hope a step back in class will bring a winning result.
The mare’s last two starts have been in Group I company at the Hawke’s Bay carnival where she finished out of the money.
‘‘Her work has been very good and if we could get a better track it would help her,’’ trainer Stephen Marsh said.
The Mastercraftsman mare has won once on a heavy track and several times on dead footing and gets on well with her rider Rosie Myers.
Rated as a Slow9 on Friday, the track at Hawera had undergone pre-race inspections and concerns allayed over a small area of the track.
‘‘It was a bit damper than the rest of the track so the club has been pro-active and done a bit of work and there’s no problem,’’ said national venue inspector Garry Foskett.
‘‘It was a general thing, not a big worry and just a precautionary measure.’’
Some light rain is forecast clearing to hopefully bring a fine race day.
Early betting has seen Underthemoonlight shorten in the market while Francaletta has her admirers.
‘‘The early money is coming for Underthemoonlight,’’ TAB oddssetter Thadeus Taylor said on Friday afternoon.. ‘‘She’s the best backed.
‘‘The money is starting to come for Francaletta and there won’t be much between them at the jump.’’
Aide Memoire ($5.50) has been steady in the market while Let Her Rip ($7) has her fans.
Trainer Roger James would fancy the chances of Romantic Maid ($18) if track conditions don’t deteriorate.
‘‘She has been working really well,’’ he said.
Lock Gingernuts in for the rescheduled Livamol Classic but more importantly a clash with Winx, one race later, is looking more likely by the day.
Te Akau principal David Ellis has confirmed the last start winner, of the Windsor Park Plate, will be in the nominations for the Livamol on Tuesday and is certain to be back at Hastings for the $250,000 Group I weight-for-age contest.
One start later, the Kiwi horse with the cult following, looks set to take on Winx - the wonder mare who is unbeaten in her last 21 starts - in a trans-Tasman battle that will be a marketing dream for the TAB if it comes off.
Gingernuts, the New Zealand Derby winner of last season, was favourite for the Livamol (2040m) on October 7 but the meeting was abandoned before the race began due to a shifty section of the track just after the winning post.
The abandonment carried massive consequences for Gingernuts and plans to fly to Australia three days later were quickly shelved, as was a start in the Caulfield Cup.
The Livamol was rescheduled for October 22 and Stephen Autridge, who trains the Te Akau team in partnership with Jamie Richards, told Stuff on Monday that Gingernuts was likely to be back at Hastings but speculation continued that the three-time Group I winner was still a chance to head across the Tasman before the rescheduled date.
Ellis put an end to the speculation on Friday when he confirmed Gingernuts for the Livamol before he heads to Melbourne for another weight-for-age assignment over 2000 metres at Flemington on November 11.
‘‘We will head to Australia for the Emirates Stakes on the last day of the carnival,’’ Ellis said.
There is still plenty of water to go under the bridge before the Winx verses Gingernuts clash is confirmed.
Winx is not a certain starter in the Emirates - she has to come through the Cox Plate first - but her connections have said it is likely she will be there.
Gingernuts will have an exhibition gallop following race two at Matamata on Saturday.
Last year’s winner Underthemoonlight is attracting punters’ attention for this year’s Taranaki Breeders.