Elizabeth Rose is ready to put her best foot forward in Saturday's Hornby Club Founders Cup (2000m), according to co-trainer Anna Furlong.
The five-year-old Contributer mare steps up to her favoured middle distance in the Riccarton staying feature, having overcome hoof problems that thwarted her summer preparation.
She had been slated to contest the Gr.3 Trentham Stakes (2100m) in January but had to be scratched on the day and has only had one run since, finishing on well for fourth in last month's Gr.3 South Island Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton.
"She's come through it really well and we're looking forward to stepping her up to her favourite distance," said Furlong, who trains in partnership with Shane Kennedy at Riccarton.
"After she missed that start at Wellington we've just been giving her time to get over those issues with her feet. She had a foot abscess but she's good now and we seem to have her on the right track."
Elizabeth Rose stayed in light work after returning to Christchurch from the futile Trentham trip.
"If we'd turned her out, we'd have had to start all over again. She had 10 days in the paddock we've got at the stables and then we've just kept her ticking over quietly," Furlong said.
"That's why we were able to go fresh-up over the mile last time and that means we can get her straight up to 2000m now which suits her best."
Elizabeth Rose is unbeaten in three starts past 1600m, among her wins last year's Listed Spring Classic (2000m) at Riccarton, when she defeated subsequent Group One performer Campionessa.
She hasn't raced at 2000m since her 6-1/2 length win on the middle day of Cup week at Riccarton last November.
"Fresh-up, it was a pretty solid effort over 1600m and she's not a mile specialist by any means," Furlong said.
"She's carrying a bit more weight (58.5kg) this week but she's pretty versatile on all track conditions so that won't bother her. It's a small field and she's got Kavish (Chowdhoory, jockey) back in the saddle and they get on really well, so hopefully we get a good result."
Furlong, who said Elizabeth Rose was unlikely to back up in Saturday week's Gr.3 Coca-Cola Canterbury Gold Cup (2000m), was looking forward to the stable's hand in racing on its home track this weekend.
Furlong and Kennedy have three-year-old fillies Betty Spaghetti, Miss Layla and Madame Giselle all tackling the Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes (1600m), while stable newcomer Jakkalnuts contests the Speight's On Tap 1400m.
Furlong favoured Betty Spaghetti as the stable's best chance in the Airfreight Stakes, based on her last-start second in the Listed NZB Insurance Stakes (1400m) at Wingatui when she chased home subsequent Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) winner Romancing The Moon, with previous-start Riccarton maiden winner Madame Giselle further back in sixth position.
MIss Layla was an impressive 2-1/4 length last-start Ashburton maiden winner.
"It's a strong field but we're really happy to have our three fillies in there and they are going super," Furlong said.
"Miss Layla is the least-experienced filly in the field but she hasn't done anything wrong and she's got a fair bit of talent and she's earned her place.
"Madame Giselle won really well at Riccarton and probably didn't get all favours down at Dunedin. We just don't want the track to get too wet for her. Betty Spaghetti had an exhibition gallop last week and we've put the blinkers on just to sharpen her up. She's drawn well and she's going nicely."
Furlong and Kennedy will assess how the trio run before deciding which ones back up in Saturday week's Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Warstep Stakes (2000m) at Riccarton, a meeting in which the stable will have Second Thoughts for the feature Canterbury Gold Cup.