Trainer Mick Price looks to be a good chance of walking away from Caulfield this Saturday with another Group 2 title to his name, with three of his mounts included in nominations for the 2014 Schweppes Rubiton Stakes.
Defeating a talented pool that included Group 1 victors Bel Sprinter and Polanski at a recent Cranbourne barrier trial, Lankan Rupee recorded a standout year for Price in 2013, claiming three of eight starts including the Listed Dilmah Earl grey Stakes (1000m) from Snitzerland and Nicholls Court.
The four-year-old son of Redoute’s Choice will be joined in the 2014 Rubtion Stakes by fellow Price hopefuls Power Princess, as well as stable mate Lion Of Belfort.
Lion Of Belfort ran third to Zoustar in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington in his last start, and also claimed a strong win in a Cranbourne trial last week; recording 46.68 seconds over 800m.
Also included in nominations for the 2014 Rubiton Stakes is First Command.
Trained by Anthony Freedman, the eight-year-old Commands gelding only managed 7th after an 11 month spell in the Listed Kensington Stakes at Flemington last time, having claimed victory in both the 2012 and 2013 editions of the same event.
All in all, First Command has claimed an impressive 12 wins from 34 starts for a total of $820,000 in prize money, however will have to be on song if he is to beat Better Than Ready.
The four-year-old out of Sally’s World has already been set for a busy 2014 Autumn Carnival, with trainer Kelly Schweida outlining another tilt at the Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap as the ultimate goal.
Before then however, Schweida revealed Better Than Ready will progress from the Rubiton to the Group 1 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m), with further decisions to be based on results and form.
A total of 11 horses were nominated for the 2014 Rubiton Stakes and nominations have been extended to tomorrow morning, with a view of filling the 16 runner limit.
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2014 Rubiton Stakes Nominations
|1||BETTER THAN READY||Kelly Schweida||105|
|2||DIAMOND OASIS||John O’Shea||77|
|4||FIRST COMMAND||Anthony Freedman||103|
|5||FLAMBERGE||Peter G Moody||97|
|8||LANKAN RUPEE||Mick Price||103|
|9||LION OF BELFORT||Mick Price||90|
|10||POCKET ROCKETS||Tony McEvoy||92|
|11||POWER PRINCESS||Mick Price||105|