Charlie ApplebyLeading Emirates Melbourne Cup contender Francis Of Assisi is being lined up to make his return to action in the Betfred Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury next month.

Trainer Charlie Appleby has earmarked the one-mile-five-furlong Group Three as a target for the seven-year-old ahead of a return trip to Australia for a shot at the Group One.

The son of Danehill Dancer created a big impression on his spell Down Under last year when claiming back-to-back Group Three handicaps at Bendigo and Flemington.

The Newmarket handler said: "He is one of the leading ante-post contenders for the Melbourne Cup and the Geoffrey Freer will be one of his prep runs towards going out to Australia.

"I am pleased with the way he is going and his preparation is going well. He won't look out of place in the Geoffrey Freer."