Jockey Chad Schofield will re-unite with top line sprinter Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Schofield was in the saddle when the Mick Price trained Lankan Rupee toyed with his opposition in winning the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) up the Flemington straight on March 8 and has been called up to deputize for the suspended Craig Newitt.
Newitt is the regular rider for the world’s best sprinter but was given an eleven meeting suspension for careless riding at the Mornington meeting last Sunday and is out of the saddle until after the day meeting on November 14.
Lankan Rupee bounced back from two early Spring Carnival defeats to lead all of the way to take out the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
Price said that the giant speedster will be even better suited back to the Flemington straight and has drawn barrier eleven in a thirteen horse field of world class sprinters.
“I think he will be much better down the Flemington straight and he will be cherry ripe for the Darley Classic. I worry only about my horse and he is going super, so the rest had better bring their best game,” Price told the Herald Sun.
“He is a great sprinter.”
“He is a gelding and he can win at weight-for-age year after year, like Takeover Target.”
Lankan Rupee will be lining up against Famous Seamus (barrier 7), Rebel Dane (8), Terravista (6), Temple Of Boom (9), Buffering (1), Moment Of Change (2), and Platlet (13) again, all of which finished behind him in the Manikato Stakes.
The Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua is the new horse on the scene along with Ireland’s top sprinter Slade Power who is making his Australian racing debut.
Chautauqua from barrier three has been posted the early $2.30 favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au following his two recent wins up the Flemington straight in the Group 3 $150,000 Bobby Lewis Quality (1200m) on September 13 and the Group 2 $200,000 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) on October 4.
While the Edward Lynam trained Slade Power (barrier 4) is at the good odds of $7.50 considering he is coming off a hat trick of wins in Ireland and England including a Group 1 winning double.
With regular rider Wayne Lordan in the saddle, Slade Power won the Group 1 £500,000 The Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6 furlongs) at Royal Ascot on June 21 followed by a win in the Group 1 £500,000 Darley July Cup (6 furlong) at Newmarket on July 12.
The top Irish jockey got a feel of the Flemington straight on Tuesday when he steered the Anthony Freedman trained Reparations to a one and a quarter lengths wins in the Listed $150,000 MSS Security Sprint (1200m).
Darley Classic market order: $2.30 Chautauqua, $5 Lankan Rupee, $7.50 Slade Power, $14 Buffering, Terravista, $17 Rebel Dane, $19 Famous Seamus, $21 Cluster, Driefontein, $26 Platlet, Sidestep, $31 Moment Of Change, $51 Temple Of Boom.