Jockey Craig Newitt could not be happier with the form of four-year-old Lankan Rupee ahead of his maiden tilt at a Group 1 level event in the 2014 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Having partnered the talented son of Redoute’s Choice in no fewer than nine of his 13 starts to date, Newitt revealed Lankan Rupee has progressed into a more focused and stimulating runner after being gelded at the conclusion of his 2013 autumn campaign.
“He will jump, he will run and he will put himself in the first four. I think he’ll be hard to beat” Newitt told TVN.
“I can’t see myself leading an Oakleigh Plate field. Kuroshio goes fast and so does the horse inside me (Minaj).
After producing a strong piece of work at Mick Price’s Caulfield stables on Tuesday, Newitt is confident Lankan Rupee can continue will continue his so-far perfect start to 2014 on Saturday.
“His work yesterday was sensational. He’s a gelding now and he’s just so relaxed in himself” Newitt added.
“He ran him 24 (seconds) and change and he never got out of first gear. He just went along at his own leisure and pulled up really good from it.
“He goes into the race 110 percent.”
Following a less-than convincing autumn preparation in 2013, Lankan Rupee was undoubtedly one of the standout performers of the spring, claiming three wins from four starts including the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1200m) from Hot Snitzel and Famous Seamus.
Returning to the track in peak form and claiming a strong Cranbourne barrier trial on January 30, Lankan Rupee jumped well from the barriers in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 8th, took the lead and dictated terms before slipping clear of the pack upon entering the final straight and sustaining a strong sprint ahead of Iconic and First Command.
Lankan Rupee is currently $3.20 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au for maiden success at Group 1 level in the 2014 Oakleigh Plate ahead of 2014 Listed Hareeba Stakes (1200m) champion Knoydart ($6) and 2014 Listed Adams Stakes (1000m) victor Shamal Wind ($8).