Francaletta keeps punters happy

Francaletta (Michael Coleman) living up to expectations at Matamata today.

Francaletta (Michael Coleman) living up to expectations at Matamata today.

Punters didn’t realise the extent of the gamble they were taking when sending Francaletta out a hot favourite on debut at Matamata today, but they were all smiles after the race.

Francaletta, a four-year-old daughter of High Chaparral, was backed into $1.60 for a win in the Stablecraft Pty Ltd 1200 on the strength of two trials wins, particularly her most recent outing at Te Teko late last month when easily winning an open 1030-metre heat.

Among the well-performed runners who chased Francaletta home in that first trial at Te Teko were Madame Jamai, a five-race winner who finished third, and the highly rated Snapshot (fourth), a winner of six of his nine starts.

Co-trainer Andrew Forsman admitted pre-race the trials win was made easier as most of the proven runners were having quiet trials.

“We wanted to run her in that heat so she got better use of the track,” said Forsman.

Forsman then sent a shudder through supporters of Francaletta today when declaring he was worried about the Matamata track, which was rated a Heavy10.

“The track may be borderline,” said Forsman. “It’s a bit wetter than we hoped, but we’ve got to kick off somewhere.”

Forsman’s “borderline” statement proved spot on as, though Francaletta won the event convincingly, she wasn’t happy in the conditions, according to rider Michael Coleman, who had also been aboard in her two trials wins.

“She only just got away with it on that heavy track,” said Coleman. “There was a bit expected of her so it was good she came through.

“She raced a bit green early in the run home but got home nicely to take the race.

“There’s lot of improvement in her fitness-wise and mentally so it’s all in front of her.”

Francaletta tracked the pacemaker Hush Little Sista in the early stages then disputed the pace across the top before taking over on the home turn. She then kicked away to win by three and a half lengths from Cantare, who loomed as a threat early in the run home but then raced waywardly.

“Obviously it helped having that horse come up to challenge her then ask her to quicken,” said Forsman. “It was a good experience.”

Bought for A$65,000 from the 2014 Sydney Easter Yearling Sales by Bruce Perry on behalf of owner Lib Petagna, Francaletta has been taken along quietly by Murray Baker and Forsman.

“She’s a big immature horse who had had a few niggling issues along the way, but we seem to be on top of them now,” said Forsman. “We think a bit of her. She’s a nice progressive type who can go through the grades.

“Obviously she’ll appreciate better ground and racing up over a bit further.”

Francaletta is likely to have her next start at Hastings, either on Saturday week or on Livamol Classic day in a special conditions maiden.

“We’ll see how she comes through this one,” said Forsman. “If she bounces through it she could run on Saturday week.”