Lankan Rupee has given his Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) rivals something to worry about after winning yet another barrier trial at Cranbourne on Monday.
The reigning Australian Racehorse of the Year settled just behind the leaders early in the 800 metre trial before pulling away to the front and cruising home to defeat A Time For Julia by one length in 45.94 seconds with General Truce a further two and a quarter lengths away in third.
It was the second impressive trial for Lankan Rupee in just six days after he sizzled at Caulfield last week with jockey Dale Smith.
Smith took over riding duties from Craig Newitt, who is now based in Singapore, and even believes the five-year-olds fitness has improved considering since he returned to track work last week.
“His recovery rate was really quick today (Monday) so in a matter of a week he seems to have come to hand really well,” Smith told Racing Victoria.
“Once I got cover behind Bel Sprinter he relaxed beautifully and he improved over the last 200 metres and finished his trial off great.”
The four-time Group One winner has placed in 16 of his total 20 starts but only won once during the spring. He just missed out on both the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) and Group 1 AJ Moir Stakes (1200m) by a short half-head before winning the hotly contested Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m). He then finished third behind Terravista and Chautauqua in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at the end of the season.
Lankan Rupee won all four of his starts last autumn and trainer Mick Price is keen for a repeat performance this season. The gelding is set for an exhibition gallop between races on CF Orr Stakes Day at Caulfield this Saturday, which will be his final hit-out before the 2015 Lightning Stakes the following weekend.
“I’ll take him to the races on Saturday and get him a bit stimulated,” Price said.
“I think the timing of today’s trial was good for the Lightning, he’s still got a bit of weight on him but he looks great.
“They’ve broken 46 seconds and he’s beaten A Time For Julia who goes really well fresh and Bel Sprinter so there’s not much more he could do.”
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