Lankan Rupee had no problems stepping up to weight-for-age level for the first; winning the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1200m) in dominant fashion at Caulfield this afternoon.
Speedy mare She Can Skate set a good tempo early and jockey Craig Newitt was able to give Lankan Rupee a lovely ride on the rail just off the pace.
The Redoute’s Choice gelding kicked well clear when asked for an extra effort in the final stages of the race and ran home strongly to score a comfortable win over a fast-finishing Hot Snitzel and Famous Seamus.
Trainer Mick Price admitted during the week that he was concerned Lankan Rupee may be too fresh for a 1200 metre race, after competing over 955 metres at Moonee Valley, but was delighted with the way in which the four-year-old finished the race.
“We had him pretty red hot for the 955’s and for the 1000 metre on Oaks Day we had the edge right on,” Price said.
“Come Saturday week you only have one chance to do something with them and you haven’t got time to see them gallop well.
“We just had a small gallop on the Wednesday and we crossed fingers that he turned up right.
“I thought he was really good today and he was there to see if he could run a strong 1200 and he did.
“It opens a lot of options up for him and probably puts him in the paddock for the autumn.
“There were a few knockers about his stamina at 1200 metres, which is fair on his previous form, but he is gelded now and has a lovely big stride.”
Lankan Rupee is another winner on Zipping Classic Day that will be heading to the spelling paddock; with Price joining the growing list of trainers that are eyeing the increased prizemoney on offer during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
“We would probably have to have a look at that autumn carnival with all those big dollars on offer,” Price said.
“We will put him out and furnish again and have a crack at the autumn.”
Newitt has had a tough time get Lankan Rupee to relax in previous races but believes that he has improved significantly since being gelded at the end of his autumn preparation.
“Getting him to relax has been our biggest worry with him the whole way through,” Newitt said.
“Unfortunately he had to lose his marbles but I think that is going to be the key to winning.
“He sat on the back of She Can Skate today and he just cruised in behind her and put her away at the top of the straight.
“The thing that impressed me the most was that he ran through the line very strongly.
“He had to measure up for the weight-for-age today and he passed with flying colours and I think there is a nice win in him somewhere down the line.”
Newitt is scheduled to fly to Singapore tonight where he will partner Dragonfly in the Singapore Gold Cup at Kranji tomorrow.
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2013 Kevin Heffernan Stakes Finishing Order
|1||9||LANKAN RUPEE||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||–||4||58.5kg||$15|
|2||2||HOT SNITZEL||Gerald Ryan||Nash Rawiller||2.25L||9||58.5kg||$10|
|3||3||FAMOUS SEAMUS (NZ)||Noel Mayfield-Smith||Tim Clark||2.45L||2||58.5kg||$7.50|
|4||4||PAGO ROCK||David Hayes||Chad Schofield (a)||2.55L||7||58.5kg||$14|
|5||1||PINWHEEL||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||2.75L||11||58.5kg||$12|
|6||11||SHE CAN SKATE||Geoff Wheeler||Reece Wheeler||2.95L||12||56.5kg||$7|
|7||8||LE BONSIR||Mick Price||Damien Oliver||3.15L||5||58.5kg||$11|
|8||12||LONHSPRESSO||Darren Weir||Ben Melham||3.9L||3||56.5kg||$6.50|
|9||6||IT IS WRITTEN||Robbie Griffiths||Steven Arnold||5.15L||10||58.5kg||$31|
|10||13||JOLIE BLONDE||Mark Riley||Stephen Baster||6.4L||8||56.5kg||$101|
|11||10||PLATELET||Darren Weir||Ms Michelle Payne||6.5L||6||56.5kg||$3.50F|
|12||5||VATUVEI||Peter G Moody||Brad Rawiller||9.25L||1||58.5kg||$201|