Five times Group 1 winning sprinter Lankan Rupee returned to the race track with a pleasing second in the rescheduled Group 3 $150,000 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Sandown on Sunday but a start in the Group 1 $1m Memsie Stakes (1400m) is still under a cloud.
The injury plagued eight year old was having his first run back from a hock problem and was supposed to make his comeback at Caulfield last Saturday week when the Bletchingly Stakes was programmed to be run.
The Bletchingly Stakes along with the remainder of the second half of the Caulfield program was abandoned on the day because of the gale force wins that were sweeping across the track and the weight for age sprint was added to Sunday’s Sandown card.
The putting back of the Blecthingly Stakes has shortened Lankan Rupee’s recovery time and lead up time into the Group 2 $200,000 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 19 which was going to be his final lead up to the Memsie Stakes at Caulfield a fortnight later.
Trainer Mick Price doesn’t think the thirteen days in between the Blecthingly Stakes and the P.B. Lawrence Stakes will be enough for Lankan Rupee to be ready to run out a strong 1400m but at this stage he doesn’t have an alternative plan.
“No there is not at this stage. But he a lot of good options in front of him,” Price told racing.com.
“Although he is not a great Moonee Valley horse, Moonee Valley may still be an option for him. There are some nice races there for him.”
“You need time to let them get over the 1200m and lift them to the 1400m so three weeks was going to be perfect.”
“I don’t want to pressure him so it just might throw that plan out of whack a bit.”
“We have to sit down and have a think about where the best plan is long term for him.”
“It throws up in the air what to do with Lankan Rupee now. If the Bletchingly had have been run when it should have been run, I had three weeks into the Lawrence into the Memsie, but now I only have thirteen days so I am not sure what to do.”
Lankan Rupee was having his first run back since running fourth to Malaguerra in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on the last day of the 2016 Melbourne Cup Carnival and after reaching the front half way down the straight was overhauled by the rock solid Ability who was able to record a half a length win over the veteran sprinter.
Both Price and race jockey Craig Newitt were happy with the effort with Price noting that the giant gelding looked good in his action.
“The last 100m it looked like he’s just putting in the short ones,” Price said.
“Ability is right in the zone, a hard fit horse, asleep in the run and bang charged up late.
“Lankan Rupee ran very very well and Ability is right in the zone and beat him fair and square on the day.”
“I was happy with the run and Craig was happy with the run. He has a really faultless preparation, his action is perfect so if we go on that we have got our horse back.”