Five-time Group 1 winner Lankan Rupee will likely target the 2016 Darley Classic second-up this spring off a lengthy injury-enforced break.
Mick Price’s $4 million champion hasn’t been seen since a third to Alpha Miss in last October’s Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m).
The son of Redoute’s Choice was later found to be suffering from bone necrosis, the hock injury preventing him from an autumn campaign.
Now a seven-year-old, Lankan Rupee is progressing nicely towards his highly-anticipated return according to his Caulfield-based trainer Price.
“The horse is perfect. His appetite’s great, he looks great and he’s perfectly sound so I’m just going to feel my way with him,” Price told Racing Victoria of the world’s former highest-rated sprinter.
Last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival Lankan Rupee had just the one run in the Schillaci, but the season before he won the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley and ran third in the $1 million Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m).
Two years on and Price is out to target the Darley Classic sprint down the Flemington straight during the Melbourne Cup Carnival again, hoping Lankan Rupee can finish in the money again after the narrow loss to Terravista and Chautauqua in 2014.
Price doesn’t want to test Lankan Rupee first-up in the $1 million Emirates Stakes Day feature however and plans to give the galloper an earlier run before the Darley Classic on Saturday November 5.
“I don’t really want to run him in the Darley first-up after the time off that he’s had but I think he’s come back really well,” he said.
Other star sprinters tracking towards a run in the Darley Classic this year include the Phillip Stokes-trained Adelaide raider Hucklebuck who won the 2014 Emirates Stakes, Matthew Dale’s TJ Smith runner-up from the spring Fell Swoop, Robert Heathcote’s veteran galloper and $7.2 million earner Buffering who won the race in 2013 as well as the Hawkes Racing-trained Chautauqua.
Chautauqua is out to improve on his second in the race last year behind Delectation (2015) and second to Terravista in 2014.
Since last year’s Darley Classic result he’s won a subsequent three Group 1 races including the Chairman’s Sprint in Hong Kong this May.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for all the updates on the progress of Lankan Rupee and then head to our No. 1 recommended bookie Ladbrokes.com.au for all the season’s top racing odds and offers!