An ultra-impressive winning jump-out at Caulfield on Tuesday morning will be followed Saturday week by the much awaited return of the world’s highest rated sprinter Lankan Rupee in the McEwen Stakes 2014.
The triple Group 1 hero smashed an 800m hit-out in Melbourne this morning winning by nearly six lengths, impressing trainer Mick Price and jockey Craig Newitt.
“From the barriers I got him out and got him running and he travelled well on the heavy track,” Newitt told Racing Victoria speaking of Lankan Rupee’s win over stablemate Tango’s Daughter and Vain Queen who runs at Caulfield this Saturday in either The Heath 1100 or the WW Cockram Stakes.
“I shook him up with about a furlong (200m) left and he let down well, it was a good hit-out.”
Price enjoyed a stellar autumn with the Redoute’s Choice gelding after Lankan Rupee won all four of his assignments including three Group 1 features.
Following a four length Rubiton Stakes win first-up the now five-year-old enjoyed easy victories in the Oakleigh Plate, Newmarket Handicap and TJ Smith Stakes.
The latest was a particularly impressive display with Lankan Rupee beating home Rebel Dane by two lengths on a Heavy (9) Randwick track on April 12 in his Sydney debut.
Having amassed over $2.85 million in prize money in just 16 starts, nine of which he’s won, the champion will look to add to that with more Group 1 glory this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
That campaign is set to kick off on September 6 at Moonee Valley Racecourse with Price eyeing a resuming run in the $200,000 Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m), won last year by the Peter Snowden-trained Kuroshio.
Before that Price give Lankan Rupee his final serious piece of work at Moonee Valley next Tuesday working him alongside stablemate Lion Of Belfort.
“I think he’s right on target he’ll have another gallop on Saturday and on Tuesday next week he’ll go to Mooonee Valley for a gallop so he can get on the float and get a bit excited,” Price said.
“I’ll probably take Lion Of Belfort there too and Lion Of Belfort can lead him up and they’ll have a good half-mile (600m) gallop.
“I don’t think there’ll be any excuses for him first up. I reckon he’s pretty spot-on.”
Also looking to run in the McEwen Stakes field next start is the Tony McEvoy-trained Iconic following the Bel Esprit four-year-olds’ first-up win in the Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m).
Iconic held on in a tight finish with Angels Beach in that Moonee Valley run last Saturday and will be up against Lankan Rupee for the third time in the McEwen.
The gelding first met Price’s champ in the Rubiton Stakes when four lengths away second, Iconic blocked for a run there, before a disappointing 14th in the Oakleigh Plate failing to make up ground after dropping back from the outside barrier 18.
After the McEwen all the major spring sprints are then on the agenda for Lankan Rupee including the $1 million Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) back at the Valley on October 24 and the $1 million Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day, November 8.
Both races were won last year by Rob Heathcote’s ace Queensland sprinter Buffering who also won the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Perth’s Ascot Racecoruse in late November.
Buffering kicked off his campaign last spring in the $450,000 Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 27, and this year’s edition of the Moir on September 26 could also be on Lankan Rupee’s agenda.
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