Francaletta is ready for redemption.
That's the view of Cambridge trainer Andrew Forsman as he puts the finishing polish on the five-year-old High Chaparral mare ahead of Saturday's Gr.3 Rich Hill Stud Taranaki Breeders' Stakes (1400m) at Hawera.
The Lib Petagna-raced Francaletta had only once been beaten leading into her last start in the Gr.3 Boehringer Ingelheim Metric Mile (1550m) at Awapuni but she could only manage fifth place.
"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," said Forsman, who trains with Murray Baker.
"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 to have tackled the Gr.3 Spring Sprint (1400m) at last Saturday's Hastings meeting but missed out on racing after the meeting was abandoned halfway through the card.
"It was a shame. 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," Forsman said.
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 Gr.2 Coupland's Bakeries Mile at Riccarton on November 15 - and Gr.1 Gavelhouse.com 1000 Guineas (1600m) hopefuls Charli Rose and Serenity.
Victoria Oaks-placegetter Eleonora, served by Savabeel in recent weeks, makes her four-year-old debut in the Listed Team Wealleans Matamata Cup (1600m), having placed in a trial at Te Awamutu in July only to have her 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 her 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 (1400m) 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 Gr.1 A$1 million Caulfield Stakes (2000m) and Lizzie L'Amour tackles Sunday's Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m). - NZ Racing Desk.