News In Brief
Smart mare set for Sydney
The connections of the Group-winning mare Francaletta have Australian aspirations for the five-year-old.
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained daughter of High Chaparral is currently enjoying a six week break and her next preparation is likely to focus on Sydney.
She was turned out after finishing runner-up in the Gr.2 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1400m), having claimed the Gr.3 Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) at her previous appearance.
Raced by Lib Petagna, she has overcome a series of injuries, that at one stage threatened to end her racing career, to win six of her nine starts.
Eales hoping for home track repeat
Matthew Eales will experience a feeling of déjà vu on Saturday if he wins the two-year-old event.
The local trainer has first-starters Atenartin and Derecho in the NZ Bakels 2YO Premier (1100m) at Awapuni.
“I won this race eight years ago with Miss Marauder and that was enough to get her into the Karaka Million,” he said.
“If either of these two win then it should get them in and it’s hard to pass up the opportunity. They’ve both trialled up well and it’s hard to split them.”
Eleonora’s racing days over
Group One performer Eleonora has been retired in foal to Savabeel.
The daughter of Makfi finished fourth when she resumed in the Listed Matamata Cup (1600m), but was subsequently found to have aggravated a previous injury and time was called on her career.
Trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, Eleonora won the Gr.3 Ethereal Stakes (2000m), a race named in honour of her second dam, at Caulfield last season and then finished third in the Gr.1 VRC Oaks (2500m).
She closed out her three-year-old season with success in the Gr.3 Sunline Vase (2100m) at Ellerslie.
Mare ready to resume
Volks Lightning is in good order to resume at Ellerslie on Tuesday.
She will make her return in the Listed Hallmark Stud Handicap (1200m), her first run since an unplaced effort in the Gr.3 Sweynesse Stakes (1215m) in October.
“The break has done her the world of good,” said Bailey Rogerson, who will train in partnership with her grandfather Graeme and his wife Debbie from New Year’s Day. “She’s a genuine contender.”