The world’s best sprinter Lankan Rupee suffered an embarrassing first-up loss going down as the odds-on favourite to a $20 roughie in the 2014 McEwen Stakes won by the Robbie Griffiths-trained Angelic Light.
First-up Mick Price’s triple Group 1 winner Lankan Rupee jumped the $1.22 favourite in the $200,000 Group 2 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (1000m) but didn’t have the zip on the straight to finish off the way he’s capable of doing.
Instead the Redoute’s Choice gelding was regulated to second by Griffith’s classy daughter of Holy Roman Emperor, the five-year-old mare second-up off a 15 month injury-enforced spell.
There were no excuses for the beaten favourite today, Lankan Rupee fast away from the outside gate to cross and sit just off from Eloping.
Everything went to script for Lankan Rupee and jockey Craig Newitt except for the McEwen Stakes result.
All watching expected the champ to hit the go button at the top of the straight and run away but instead it was Angelic Light, coming off a first-up third to Iconic in the Listed Carlyon Stakes over the same track and distance from August 23, who stole the show.
Lankan Rupee did ping to take the lead from Eloping but Angelic Light ridden from the back claimed him with 50m left to travel while Eloping held for a distant third three lengths further away.
They flashed home too with Angelic Light posting 57.54, the course record being 57.22 seconds.
Newitt said after the loss he wouldn’t change anything about the ride and that Lankan Rupee would improve off that
After spending 64 weeks sidelined with a tendon sprain and other injury issues, Angelic Light impressed her Cranbourne-based trainer first-up.
He knew she had improvement going into the McEwen Stakes but even Griffiths didn’t expect to beat Lankan Rupee.
“I didn’t expect it, you’d have to be silly to say you would,” he told TVN.
“I was very happy with her first-up run and I thought today we were a real chance of running second and I would have been delighted with that.
“But to see her did deep and get on top of the world’s best sprinter, that’s very exciting.”
She now gets a three week freshen-up before coming back to Moonee Valley Racecourse on Friday September 26 for the $450,000 Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) under the lights for a shot at an elite level title before retirement.
“In three weeks’ time we were thinking she could run top three in the Group 1 but now we got into the Group 1 with a bit more confidence,” Griffiths added.
Angelic Light is already Group 1 performed too from last April when second behind Platelet in the Robert Sangster Classic over the 1200m in Adelaide, an effort Griffiths is hoping she can improve on this spring.
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2014 McEwen Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Moonee Valley Race 5 – 06/09/2014
|1||7||ANGELIC LIGHT||Robbie Griffiths||Ryan Maloney||–||1||56.5kg||$21|
|2||1||LANKAN RUPEE||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||0.1L||9||58.5kg||$1.22F|
|3||9||ELOPING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||Ms Linda Meech||2.35L||2||50kg||$9|
|4||2||IT IS WRITTEN||Robbie Griffiths||Matthew Allen||2.65L||4||58.5kg||$101|
|5||8||ORUJO||John O’Shea||Tommy Berry||3.65L||7||52kg||$41|
|6||6||CAUTHEN (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Steven Arnold||5.4L||3||58.5kg||$21|
|7||3||UNPRETENTIOUS||Nikki Burke||Craig Williams||5.5L||5||58.5kg||$19|
|8||5||ACADEMY JACK||Dale Short||Nicholas Hall||6.25L||6||58.5kg||$101|
|9||4||OUR NKWAZI||Shawn Mathrick||Dwayne Dunn||6.35L||8||58.5kg||$301|