Murray Baker was quick to give a quartet of his smart performers the thumbs up after they clashed in an open trial on their home track today.
Francaletta (Michael Coleman), who shaped well for big assignments this autumn with a win at today’s Cambridge trials.
Francaletta, Mime and Lizzie L’Amour filled the first three placings in an open 1200-metre heat while Wellington Cup winner Maygrove finished a few placings further afield.
“They all went well,” said Baker. “They’re all coming up well.”
Francaletta, a winner of four of her five starts, was having her first outing since being unplaced in the Gr.2 NRM Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Pukekohe last November and was ridden by regular rider Michael Coleman.
She soon worked to the front and won nicely by a half-length from Mime, who enjoyed the trail, while Lizzie L’Amour ran on to finish four lengths away in third spot.
Francaletta is to resume in a Rating 85 1400 metres at Ellerslie on March 4 as a lead-up to possibly the Gr.1 $200,000 Fiber Fresh NZ Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha on April 8 or a Sydney feature.
“She’s also nominated for the mares’ race (Coolmore Queen of the Turf Stakes) and Doncaster in Sydney,” said Baker.
The Gr.1 A$3 million Star Doncaster Mile on April 1 and the Gr.1 A$1 million Coolmore Legacy Queen Of The Turf (1600m) is at Randwick a week later.
Mime, the runner-up in last spring’s Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate, also holds nominations for both the Doncaster and Coolmore Queen of the Turf Stakes, as do stablemates Coldplay and Let Me Roar.
Lizzie L’Amour, the Gr.3 Skycity Hamilton Waikato Cup winner, is ticking over with the possibility of also being on the plane to Sydney. She is entered for the Gr.1 A$2 million Schweppes Sydney Cup on April 8.
Maygrove was having his first outing since finishing 10th in last November’s NZ Cup. “He’s getting ready for the autumn racing, something like the Hawke’s Bay Cup,” said Baker.
Baker and his training partner, Andrew Forsman, are sitting on 61 wins, seven clear of their nearest rivals, Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards, at the top of the NZ Trainers’ Premiership.
They took their New Zealand group and listed tally for the season to 11 with the win of Bonneval over stablemate Nicoletta in the Gr.2 Cambridge Stud Sir Tristram Fillies Classic at Te Rapa last Saturday and ended the day on a high note when Mongolian Legend was successful.