Jockey Craig Newitt believes that super sprinter Lankan Rupee can make further improvement for the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington in three weeks.
Newitt, who is now based in Singapore, made a flying visit on Saturday to steer Lankan Rupee to a spectacular win in the Group 1 $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington which he described as one of the best wins and can’t wait to return to Melbourne for the Newmarket Handicap.
“It was absolutely one of his best wins,’’ Newitt told the Herald Sun.
“I have no doubt he is better second-up, so I can’t wait to get back to Melbourne in three weeks to jump on him again.’’
Trainer Mick Price had been training Lankan Rupee to settle off the pace after he was left vulnerable in a couple of his races in in the Spring when he raced on the speed, especially when he was run over by Terravista and Chautauqua when third in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on the last day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Newitt followed instruction to the letter in the Black Caviar Lightning and had the giant sprinter settled behind the favourite Deep Filed in the early stages before easing him over his heels at the 300m to the put the result beyond doubt.
Lankan Rupee went on to score a two and three quarter lengths win over the three year old Brazen Beau with Deep Field holding on for third placing.
“It was outstanding the way he relaxed and then charged. The further the race went, the further he ran away from them,” Newitt said.
“He has definitely improved, which is scary. It is the way he now relaxes and then explodes that will make him even better than he was.
Newitt expects Lankan Rupee to get around 58.5kg in the Newmarket Handicap as he chases back to back wins in Melbourne’s premier sprint down the Flemington straight after winning with 56.5kg last year with Chad Schofield in the saddle.
“I assume he will get 58.5kg in the Newmarket Handicap and give weight to all other runners, but if he relaxes under that weight he will still have the same turn of foot at the end of the race and take a power of beating,” Newitt said.
Deep Field’s stablemate Chautauqua remains the favourite for the Newmarket Handicap with Ladbrokes.com.au at $3.20 with Lankan Rupee firming to $3.80 after Saturday’s win.
On the third line of the betting is the Joe Pride trained Terravista at $5 just ahead of Chris Waller’s Brazen Beau at $5.50.