Lankan Rupee proved why he is the equal world number one sprinter on Tuesday with a brilliant off the pace win in a Caulfield barrier trial.
The five-year-old gelding has four Group One victories under his belt and has finished in the first three in 16 of his 20 career starts. The reigning Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) champion enjoyed one win and three placings during the spring carnival in Melbourne, winning the fast-paced Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) before being grabbed late in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) by Terravista and Chautauqua.
Not seen since November 8 in the Darley Classic, Lankan Rupee began his upcoming autumn carnival preparations this morning with Dale Smith in the saddle.
The gelding was deliberately ridden off the pace early before displaying a stunning turn of foot to quickly run through to the front and win running away. His stable mate Mandla finished second while the John Sadler-trained Vain Queen displayed a good effort to finish third.
This was in line with trainer Mick Price’s plans for the trial. He had previously stated Lankan Rupee would be under a hold for the first 600 metres of the 800 metre trial before being let go to “squirt a furlong”.
Price was very happy with the result.
“He’s still got a bit of a tummy but we have set about this preparation to ride him a little quieter,” he said.
“He has to come up against some very good horses and maybe this is the best way to tackle them.”
Price also pinpointed the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) on February 21 as the first-up run for Lankan Rupee before the gelding defends his titles in both the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 14 and TJ Smith Stakes on April 4.
It may be a small campaign but all three races are tough and the gelding will be travelling from Melbourne to Sydney.
“He is being prepared for the Lightning Stakes then the Newmarket and the T. J. Smith in Sydney,” Price confirmed.
“It doesn’t seem like a lot of racing but they are all big, tough races and he seems right on track.”
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