Trainer Mick Price was disappointed champion sprinter Lankan Rupee was unable to return to peak condition during the recent Autumn Carnival, but remains confident the gelding is capable of further Group 1 success during the upcoming 2015 Spring Carnival.
A five-time winner at the highest level of Australian racing, Lankan Rupee returned in February for a blistering win in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) but failed to make an impact when sixth in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and ninth in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) in his two proceeding starts.
Revealing the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on October 10th will figure as his first point of call, Price told Racing Ahead the son of Redoute’s Choice will return to defend his crown in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) before a season swansong in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) on November 7th.
“I thought he couldn’t win the TJ Smith and those races because he probably wasn’t quite 100% right,” Price said.
“He had a few little issues but he’s back and had a good spell.
“He’ll probably run in the Schillaci, the Manikato and the VRC Sprint (Darley Classic), but he’s in very good condition and I’m very happy with him.
“I think that is about four weeks before the Schillaci so it doesn’t quite fit in with what I want to do and I probably don’t need to be banging him around 1000m at Moonee Valley.
“Moonee Valley is not his favourite course but I’m not going to miss a $1 million Manikato and it fits in with the VRC Sprint so I think those will be his three runs.”
Lankan Rupee was unable to produce much of a consistent run of form through the early preparations of his racing career, but immediately responded to his gelding at the conclusion of the 2013 Autumn Carnival; winning three of four spring starts.
Undoubtedly finding career-best form to date through the 2014 autumn, Lankan Rupee jogged home to win the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) first-up before taking out each of the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m), Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) in succession.
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