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Francis back on Cup trail

 Aug 11 2017

The Charlie Appleby-trained Francis Of Assisi really took to racing in Australia with dominant wins in the Bendigo Cup and the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes and is being prepared for the Melbourne Cup this season.

Live on Sky Racing 1, the seven-year-old will make his eagerly anticipated return in the Group 3 Rose Of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock on Saturday night and while the 2100 metres distance is a touch on the sharp side, the underfoot conditions will be ideal.

Clearly he will benefit for the run with bigger targets further down the line, however he can't be dismissed in what is a very good renewal. One horse of particular interest will be the Owen Burrows-trained Laraaib who is unbeaten in three starts. A physically impressive three-year-old, the son of Pivotal was a stylish winner against his elders in an Ascot handicap in July and has looked a Group winner in the making.

Sir Michael Stoute has entered Autocratic who is already a Group 3 winner having won the Brigadier Gerard at Sandown last start, while Brian Meehan's Spark Plug steps up from his latest Listed win on ground softer than ideal.

Two others to note will be Frankuus and Gabrial. The latter is hard to win with but seems to run consistently well at any level including a fourth place in the Group 2 Summer Mile at Ascot. Frankuus hasn't been seen at his best this campaign however his latest second at Hamilton was much better. He set a really strong pace there and he improved at this time last season on similar ground, so it could be this is his time of year.

Catch Francis Of Assisi and the Group 3 Rose Of Lancaster Stakes live on Sky Racing 1 on Saturday night.

 



Richard Wade - Sky Racing

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