Reputation versus reality could be two vastly different things for Lizzie L'Amour in the $200,000 Windsor Park Plate at Hastings today.
And champion trainer Murray Baker says the reality is his high class mare can win her comeback race.
Lizzie L'Amour produced one of the standout wins of last season in New Zealand when she ploughed through the Te Rapa mud to win the group one Herbie Dyke by 5-lengths over 2000m.
So dominant was the lightly-framed mare that day it is easy for punters to typecast her as a middle distance star at her best with the sting out of the ground and therefore overlook her against the speedsters in today's 1600m thriller.
But that is reputation. Baker says the reality is a 1600m fresh up is all but perfect for Lizzie L'Amour.
"She can win it. I am not saying she will but she is definitely going there to win, it is not just a lead-up to longer races later in the spring.
"She has won two of her fresh-up runs and in the other one, at Moonee Valley last season, she fibrillated.
"So she can run well fresh and her record over 1600m is pretty good.
"From that draw she should be close enough to them to be a show."
Because she has raced only sparingly in New Zealand, Lizzie L'Amour flies under the top horses radar but her record is one of the most consistent at the highest of any older domestic thoroughbred.
In her last six starts she has won two group ones, both over 2000m, run a group one second over the same trip and then finished second over 1400m in group two mares' company.
Most importantly, among all that she won the group two Cal Isuzu Stakes over 1600m on a good 3 at Te Rapa last December beating Love Affair, Stolen Dance and Devise, the latter two going on to win group one 1600m races in subsequent starts.
The conditions of that Cal Isuzu Stakes victory are the ones Lizzie L'Amour is most likely to face today but if there was any rain overnight in Hastings that would surely only aid her cause.
For all that Lizzie L'Amour, as is so often the case with Baker-Forsman horses, is hardly any great overs on the fixed odds at $11 so punters could be better waiting for the tote, unless of course that rain did come because that would certainly see her shorten in the market.
Lizzie L'Amour was late nominated for today's race and if she performs well is also likely to be a late entry for the Livamol Stakes in two weeks, which could prove to be crucial for future punters.
Although optimistic about Lizzie L'Amour's return, Baker acknowledges stablemate Francaletta faces a brutal task from her wide barrier and will need to improve on her disappointing last start run in the Tarzino Trophy.
Most of the big guns from the Tarzino return today and with the aid of the ace draw Melody Belle picks herself as the logical favourite, while placegetters Hiflyer and Our Abbadean should be even more comfortable over the extra 200m.
But the two four-year-olds who caught the eye most behind the dividend bearers in the Tarzino and look certain to relish the step up in distance are Savvy Coup and Scott Base.
Both won at the highest level as three-year-olds last term but Scott Base looks the more natural 1600m horse as he showed with his dazzling Karaka Classic Mile victory in January, where he beat Savvy Coup into a promoted third.
With a handy draw he should settle midfield on the outer and if there is a strong tempo he could be the greatest danger to Melody Belle.
●On a busy day for the country's premier stable, Baker opts for $4.40 chance Mental Telepathy in the first at Hastings as his best winning hope there.