Trainer Mick Price remains confident his five-time Group 1 winning sprinter Lankan Rupee can equal the metric weight carrying record in the 2015 Newmarket Handicap Saturday week after being allocated the 58.5kg top weight.
The allotted kilos were more or less what Price expected for his Redoute’s Choice five-year-old, Lankan Rupee having won four subsequent Group 1 victories since winning the Flemington sprint last year.
“58.5 is more or less what I expected on a 50kg minimum and I think he deserves that weight,” Price told Racing Victoria.
Last Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival the galloper, now the world’s equal highest-rated sprinter, won the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) with 56.5kg.
Now on March 14 for ‘Super Saturday’ he will look to be the first since Hay List back in 2012 to carry the 58.5kg to victory.
The bookmakers are certainly taking no chances on the last start Group 1 Lightning Handicap (1000m) winner, Lankan Rupee the $3.60 second pick in the all-in Newmarket Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au behind Chautauqua ($3.20).
The Team Hawkes-trained Chautauqua, first-up winner of the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) on February 14 at Caulfield, is allocated 55.5kg for the Newmarket Handicap.
The Encosta De Lago four-year-old beat Lankan Rupee home by one in the spring when the duo finished second and third respectively behind Terravista in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m).
Lankan Rupee then will meet Chautauqua three kilos worse off in the Newmarket, and Darley Classic winner Terravista two kilos worse with the Joe Pride-trained allocated 56.5kg.
“Given Chautauqua and Terravista have beaten him at weight for age so it’s difficult to make a case based on the Darley Classic that they are poorly weighted against him,” Price said.
It is not those two that Price most fears however, but $5.50 chance Brazen Beau after Chris Waller’s Lightning Stakes winner was allocated just 52kg giving the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes winning three-year-old the 3.5kg turnaround on his last start conqueror.
“I’m not making excuses saying the weight is going to stop him, it gives the lightweights a chance to tackle him and that’s what handicaps are all about,” he said.
“I think as a Group 1 winner Brazen Beau is very well weighted in the race based on his run in the Lightning, his win in the Coolmore and the fact there’s still in improvement left in him.”
Looking at race tactics then, Price said that Lankan Rupee was still a genuine winning chance if he can reel off some fast sectionals.
“I think the difference in managing the sectionals with him might be the difference in winning and losing,” he said.
“Whilst we may have Chautauqua and Terravista sitting off us, it’s a different race to the Darley Classic where we were disadvantaged by Buffering and were left a sitting shot.”
Lankan Rupee worked on the course proper at Caulfield on Tuesday morning and put in a nice piece of work for track work rider Dale Smith.
“Dale Smith said he was humming,” Price said.
“My regular work rider Lachlan, who rides the horse every day, said ‘they’re going to need wings (to beat him) boss’.”
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