Price Confident in Lankan Rupee’s Fitness for 2015 TJ Smith Stakes

Five-year-old gelding Lankan Rupee suffered a torn off-front pectoral muscle and stifle inflammation during the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 14 but should be able to bounce back and defend his title in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on April 4.

Lankan Rupee will be fit to defend his title in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes.

Lankan Rupee will be fit to defend his title in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes. Photo by Sarah Ebbett.

Lankan Rupee was the $3 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au to win the Newmarket Handicap after his dominant victory in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) first-up on February 21. The gelding was restrained early and raced keenly on the standside of the field. He tracked the leading trio and was poised to strike at the 300m but his run peaked, falling away sharply to finish four and a half length behind winner Brazen Beau in sixth place.

The five-time Group One winner failed to defend his title in the Newmarket Handicap but trainer Mick Price is confident he’ll be fit for the 2015 TJ Smith Stakes, after winning last year’s race by two lengths, with the injuries down to simple wear and tear after 22 competitive starts.

Lankan Rupee has undergone ultrasound treatment to his chest, treatment to his stifles, and is exercising on the water walker.

“I didn’t want them (the injuries) to appear in the Newmarket. I would have preferred it on the training track at home,” Price told Sky Racing.

“But it gives me two weeks to the TJ Smith.

“We’ll do some work with him at Caulfield or I might send him to Sydney. I’ll just have a think about that one, but I think he’ll bounce back well.”

It’s not the first time the five-year-old has suffered injury issues, he missed the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m) on October 11 due to a quarter crack in his heel before returning for a minor placing in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) on November 8.

Price will also saddle Ready For Victory at Randwick on April 4 in the Group 1 Sires Produce Stakes (1400m), after the colt pulled up well from his fourth placing behind Vancouver in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) on Saturday.

The trainer is confident he can walk away from day one of The Championships with two Group One victories to his name.

“He pulled up great, had a swim this morning and will go towards the Sires’,” Price said.

“We’ll mess around with his gear and we’ve got until Wednesday week to make a decision.

“He’ll take his place and Lankan Rupee will take his place and I’ll win two Group Ones in a day.”

Lankan Rupee is the $5 third favourite in the TJ Smith futures betting at Ladbrokes.com.au. Open your account today to receive up to $250 in a bonus match on your first bet.

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