Having passed the ride to up-and-coming jockey Chad Schofield in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) in order to partner Samaready in the same event, Craig Newitt has been confirmed to return to the saddle of leading sprinter Lankan Rupee in this weekend’s major Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick.
Allocated the ideal inside barrier for the sprinter’s race on day 1 of the inaugural The Championships, Newitt told TVN he is excited to leave from gate 1 in the T.J. Smith; particularly with early pace-setter and leading chance Buffering allocated stall 2.
“Perfect, just perfect” Newitt said of Tuesday’s ideal barrier draw.
“The leader has drawn beside us, but in a field of 18 you are better drawn in than out.
“Buffering is going to lead and take you right where you want to be. All I have to do is peel off his back and present him and he’s going to get his chance.
“I really can’t fault him; if he brings Newmarket form on Saturday, he’s the one to beat.”
Unable to string anything of a run of consistent form together prior to being gelded at the conclusion of his 2013 autumn campaign, Lankan Rupee has now secured six wins from seven starts.
Returning to the track in typically scintillating form this preparation, Lankan Rupee strolled home to win the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) first-up before claiming both the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) and Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) with ease most recently.
“He’s now rated as the best sprinter in the world. It is extraordinary” Newitt added.
Having continued his incredible run of form in all races this season, Lankan Rupee currently leads betting markets for the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes at $3.80 odds, also registering as clear market mover after cutting in from an opening quote of $4.
Winner of three Group 1 races over the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, Buffering is currently featured as outright second favourite for success this weekend at even $6 odds, ahead of George Ryder Stakes champion Gordon Lord Byron ($8.50), Zoustar ($11) and Rebel Dane ($12).
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