The 2014 Manikato Stakes final field & barrier draw was announced this morning, with 2013/14 Australian Racehorse of the Year Lankan Rupee drawing wide in barrier nine.
Craig Newitt is set to ride the gelding in Friday night’s $1 million Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse. He was quick to voice his disappointment with the wide draw, describing it as “not ideal”.
“What can you do? It’s what we’ve been dealt and we’ll just have to work out a plan to overcome it,” Newitt said to racing.com.
“He’ll roll forward and will be in the first couple but it’s up to Mick (Price) and the owner Mr Yaseen whether we push on and take the lead or take a sit.”
Lankan Rupee missed out on a start in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m) on October 11 due to a quarter crack in his hoof, but Newitt has stated the five-year-old is as good as ever in his training.
“The horse is going as good as he can, I can’t fault him,” he said.
Newitt may be less than happy with the draw but punters aren’t shying away from Lankan Rupee because of it. He has already seen his price firm to $3.90 with Ladbrokes.com.au while Terravista leads the Manikato Stakes odds at $3.40 following two strong spring wins including the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m).
Lankan Rupee has not finished outside top three since May, 2013 and enjoyed a six-race winning streak that included the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) and Newmarket Handicap (1200m), both over the same distance as the Manikato.
He was beaten home in his two spring starts by just a neck, the last of which was by Buffering in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) on the course proper last month. They are set to face off once more, with Buffering enjoying a start from gate four in the 2014 Manikato Stakes as he defends his title with odds of $6, making him the last single figure hopeful for the race.
Open your online betting account with Ladbrokes.com.au today to receive $500 worth of bonus bets to use on your favourite spring races, including the Manikato Stakes 2014. This offer is 5x the standard amount, so act fact; this offer won’t stick around for long.