Forsman hopeful Francalletta is a group contender


CAMBRIDGE trainer Andrew Forsman is hopeful Francalletta can redeem itself ahead of Saturday’s Group Three Rich Hill Stud Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes at Hawera.

The five-year-old had only been defeated once leading into its last start fifth in Group Three Boehringer Ingelheim Metric Mile at Awapuni, which the trainer believes may have been just beyond the mare at that stage of its preparation.

“It was a good effort but probably just a bridge too far, second up after a long break and up to a mile on a testing track,” Forsman said .

“We’re pretty forgiving of that run and hoping she can bounce back. We expect her to run very well. She’s not well off at weight-for-age but these black-type opportunities in fillies and mares company don’t come around often so you’ve got to have a go.”

Francaletta was set to tackle the Group Three Spring Sprint at last Saturday’s Hastings meeting but missed out on racing after the meeting was abandoned halfway through the card.

“It was a shame,” Forsman said.

“We floated her all the way down there for nothing and we’ve just got to hope this week that the travel doesn’t get to her.”

Francaletta is the stable’s sole runner at Hawera, with a team of eight entered for Matamata on Saturday, among them Deals In Heels, Eleonora and Grand Rio – all entries for the Group Three Coupland’s Bakeries Mile at Riccarton on November 15 – and Group One New Zealand 1000 Guineas hopefuls Charli Rose and Serenity.

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Victoria Oaks-placegetter Eleonora, served by Savabeel in recent weeks, makes her four-year-old debut in the Listed Team Wealleans Matamata Cup, having placed in a trial at Te Awamutu in July only to have its resuming run thwarted by unsuitable heavy tracks in recent weeks.

“A slow track is going to suit her fresh-up. We couldn’t be happier with her work, which has really improved in the last few weeks,” Forsman said.

“She’s definitely good enough to win but we’d have to be a bit forgiving if she did happen to blow out.”

Deals In Heels has won four of its five starts and has looked an exciting prospect.

“Even in her trackwork, the more she does of anything, the better she gets,” Forsman said.

“She got a bit keen last start, got a bit fizzed up and though she is probably looking for 1400m to 1600m now, we’re hoping we can get away with dropping back to 1200m on Saturday.”

Three-year-old fillies Charli Rose and Serenity clash in the Fairview Ford Motors 1400, a race which could see a return matchup in the Listed Soliloquy Stakes at Ellerslie a fortnight later if both run well.

“Both are still Guineas contenders, having won a race each this preparation. We like them both,” Forsman said.

The remaining stable runners are Street Ranger, Crafty Jess and O’Carol, while in Melbourne, Bonneval and Jon Snow contest Saturday’s Group One Caulfield Stakes and Lizzie L’Amour tackles Sunday’s Cranbourne Cup.