The 2014 VRC Sprint Classic at Flemington this Melbourne Cup Carnival is shaping up as a supercharged showdown between the country’s best sprinter Lankan Rupee and a powerful international contender who trainer Mick Price can’t wait to take on.
Price is starting to plan out the spring returns of his stable stars including that of Redoute’s Choice gelding Lankan Rupee who will target the $1 million Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) on Emirates Stakes Day, November 8.
That same sprint feature is also on the agenda for the Edward Lynam-trained English raider Slade Power who is undefeated this year.
A recent purchase for Darley who will take over ownership with the Dutch Art stallion retires to stand at stud at the end of next season, five-year-old Slade Power has won all three of their 2014 starts including a Group 1 double in Europe.
After taking out Royal Ascot’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes last month they were back in the winner’s stall this time at Newmarket over the weekend with a powerful performance in the Darley July Cup.
Current connections have confirmed Slade Power will travel down under this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival then with an eye on the VRC Sprint.
Waiting for them will be Price’s own triple figure champion Lankan Rupee who has won their past six starts.
“They’ll clash and I look forward to it,” he told Racing Victoria this week.
Three of those have been at elite level as they backed up from the Oakleigh Plate – Newmarket Handicap double in Melbourne to score an impressive two length victory over Rebel Dane in the TJ Smith Stakes in the mud at Randwick on April 12.
Lankan Rupee has come back to work in what Price describes as ‘perfect’ order ready to add to their commanding record.
Price also hasn’t ruled out a clash between Lankan Rupee and stablemate Samaready this spring after connections of the latter decided to race on with her for another season.
More Than Ready mare Samaready will chase her third Group 1 victory this coming season having already won the 2012 Blue Diamond Stakes as a juvenile and more recently the Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley by four lengths last September.
She weakened badly in her latest run when ninth beating home just one other runner in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) in March, a race won by the Tony Gollan-trained Queenslander Spirit Of Boom.
Spelled in the Hunter Valley at the property of owners Vinery Stud, Samaready will return in the spring out to atone for her failed William Reid run as the beaten favourite and Price won’t avoid a run in with Lankan Rupee if it fits her program.
“It depends, she’s only had 12 runs, she has to keep racing well and winning to keep holding her spot in the stable,” Price said.
“Anytime she races in a in a Group race, if she wins or runs a place it adds to her path of the pedigree page so as long as she is racing well and competitively on where we place her.
“She should have a year in front of her to improve her record as a racehorse before we breed from her the following season.
“That will be assessed after this racing season to see if she races onto to 2015/2016.”
Price confirmed she will return to his stables next Monday which is when he’ll discuss first-up options with Vinery Stud’s managing owner Peter Orton.
“Samaready is at Rockmount and she will be in at Caulfield next Monday, her and More Radiant will be in at Caulfield next Monday,” he said.
“I’m not sure what Peter Orton is thinking but we’ll get her in here and see what we can do with her.”
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