The decision to up the distance and prize money of the Schillaci Stakes 2015 this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is already paying dividends with superstar sprinter Lankan Rupee a confirmed hope for the Caulfield feature.
Previously held over 1000m, this year’s Group 2 Schillaci Stakes has been bumped up to 1100m and takes place on Caulfield Guineas Day on October 10 with an extra $200,000 on offer boosting the total prize money to $400,000.
Local Caulfield-based horseman Mick Price this week confirmed plans to target the weight-for-age feature with his Redoute’s Choice five-year-old Lankan Rupee.
“The Schillaci fits into that sprint program a bit better now, being 1100 metres and weight-for-age,” Price told Racing Victoria.
“It suits us, anyway.”
The champion gelding has to date five Group 1 races earning over $3.99 million in prize money.
His most recent victory was in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes down the Flemington straight back in February, after which he lost back-to-back races.
Failing to race up to his usual standard, last year’s Australian Racehorse of the Year Lankan Rupee was well beaten in both the Newmarket Handicap and TJ Smith Stakes when finishing sixth and ninth respectively behind Brazen Beau and Chautauqua.
Price sent him out for a well-earned rest after Sydney’s TJ Smith Stakes on April 6 and is optimistic about him returning to form this coming campaign.
Following a Schillaci Stakes run Lankan Rupee will be set for the $1 million Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day in early November during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, an event he crossed a length away third in behind Terravista (1st) and Chautauqua (2nd) last spring.
“He’ll run in the Schillaci on the way to the Darley Classic,” Price confirmed.
Lankan Rupee also hasn’t been ruled out of running in the same Moonee Valley lead-ups that he contested last year on way to his win in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m).
He ran second twice at the track first and second-up before the Manikato beaten only a nose in both the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) and Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) by Angelic Light and Buffering respectively.
Price plans to give Lankan Rupee, currently in pre-training at Wyong with a scheduled return to his Caulfield base for next week, the an early run in at least one of these events, the Moir Stakes run over 1000m this year.
Also due back to Price’s Caulfield base at the same time is rising three-year-old Zabeel colt Ready For Victory who ran fourth second-up in the Golden Slipper back in March before a seventh behind Pride OF Dubai in the Group 1 Inglis Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) last start in April.
Price plans to target the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on the same day as the Schillaci with Ready For Victory.
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