Update: Leading form expert Adam Blencowe does not have Lankan Rupee on top of his 2014 Darley Classic tips, but believes that the talented sprinter represents good value at his current quote to take out the Group 1 event.
Lankan Rupee was beaten in both the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 6 and the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at the same venue on September 26 before he returned to winning form with a narrow win in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) on October 24.
Blencowe admits that 2014 Darley Classic favourite Chautauqua is the horse to beat in the $1 million sprint at Flemington this afternoon, but he told RSN that he believes Lankan Rupee can return to his best form down the Flemington straight and is a genuine chance of recording a fifth win at the highest level of racing.
“Chautauqua looks like he is going to measure right up and he has been terrific in his two wins this time in and he stays at the same course,” Blencowe said.
“His figures suggest that he is an outstanding hope, but it just sort of depends on what you do with Lankan Rupee.
“I subscribe to the he will be better away from Moonee Valley theory and if he gets back to the form that he was in in the autumn it is going to take a big effort from Chautauqua.
“I wouldn’t be lining up to take $2.30; I have Chautauqua at $3 and I have Lankan Rupee at $4, but that is probably being a bit conservative with Chautauqua and a bit positive with Lankan Rupee off last start efforts.”
While Blencowe has Lankan Rupee and Chautauqua on top of his Darley Classic selections, he believes that there are a number of genuine chances in the races and listed four-time Group 1 winner Buffering and leading European sprinter Slade Power as two horses in the field that represent good value at their current quotes.
“There is great depth in the race and you have to factor in these other horses,” Blencowe said.
“You can never be dismissive of Buffering and Slade Power is a similar horse to Starspangledbanner on his form overseas.”
Chautauqua ($2.30) remains a clear favourite in 2014 Darley Classic betting markets from Lankan Rupee ($5.50), Slade Power ($6.50) and Terravista ($11).
Chautauqua is on top of the 2014 Darley Classic tips of leading form analyst Daniel O’Sullivan and he believes that the talented sprinter is clearly the horse to beat in the Group 1 event at Flemington on Saturday.
Chautauqua started his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a fast-finishing victory over Temple Of Boom in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington on September 13 and he proved that performance was no fluke when he cantered to an effortless four lengths victory in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at the same venue on October 4.
O’Sullivan told RSN that the performance of Chautauqua in the Gilgai Stakes was world class and he believes that the Encosta De Lago gelding will prove very difficult to beat if he is able to replicate that performance in the 2014 Darley Classic.
“I think Chautauqua,” O’Sullivan said.
“He was just scintillating last start and he ran clearly world class figures in that last start.
“It was a step-up on his impressive win prior to that and I think sometimes you need to just take what you see on face value.
“You can’t fluke those type of performances that Chautauqua produced.
“He just comes into this race with the right sort of profile; he has clearly the best last-start figure, he missed the Manikato and comes into this race nice and fresh and there is no issues with him being busted or feeling the effects of a hard run Manikato.
“He is still in himself a lightly-raced horse and for me he is the only horse that I could back in this race.”
While O’Sullivan admits that Lankan Rupee looms as the major danger to Chautauqua in the Darley Classic, he believes that there is no doubt the Redoute’s Choice gelding has been unable to return to the level that he performed at when he took out the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m), Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) during the autumn and he revealed that he was happy to have Chautauqua as his only bet in the Group 1 event.
“There is a lot of talk about how he is going to be better at Flemington and he may well be, but he is going to need to be,” O’Sullivan said.
“There is no doubt that on his best figures in the autumn, but I think the problem is that he and all the other sprinters that have been running around him have been a level below what we would call really genuine Group 1 level this spring and I think that he is a very relevant factor here.”
Chautauqua is currently available at 2014 Darley Classic odds of $2.30 and he is a clear favourite from Lankan Rupee ($5.50), Slade Power ($6) and Terravista ($11).