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Comeback sprinter Lankan Rupee will need plenty of luck when he resumes in the Group 3 $150,000 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Sandown on Sunday after drawing barrier nine in the twelve horse field.

Lankan Rupee, above, has drawn barrier 9 in the Bletchingly Stakes at Sandown. Photo by Adrienne Bicknell.

Lankan Rupee, above, has drawn barrier 9 in the Bletchingly Stakes at Sandown. Photo by Adrienne Bicknell.

Jockey Craig Newitt was hoping to give Lankan Rupee a soft run from an inside barrier to help him with his fitness first up but now the eight year old will have to do it tough from the awkward gate.

“If he gets a good gate and a pretty good run I think he’ll be a really good chance, if not his fitness may give out,” Newitt said on RSN927 before the barrier draw.

“But I think the track will suit him.

“The track we’re on tends to suit horses on the speed and you would think he won’t be too far away.”

Trainer Mick Price took Lankan Rupee to Sandown on Wednesday morning to gallop with stablemate and Bletchingly Stakes rival Duke Of Brunswick and while Newitt said that the giant gelding showed his usual turn of foot to match it with his galloping partner, he had had enough on the line.

“When we got around the 400-metre mark I picked him up pretty quick,” Newitt said.

“I was surprised how the old boy quickened down. On the line the other horse had the measure of me, but I reckon it was fitness that gave way in my bloke.”

While Lankan Rupee got a feel for the Sandown track, he was unable to familiarize himself with the surroundings as a heavy fog covered the course.

“Visibility was pretty ordinary. I sat four or five lengths off the horse in front of me and that was pretty much all I could see for the whole gallop,” Newitt said.

Lankan Rupee was rated among the best sprinters in the world when he strung three Group 1 wins together during the 2014 Autumn Carnival in the $400,000 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield, the $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington and the $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.

The 2014 Group 1 $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) at The Valley was added to Lankan Rupee’s list of Group 1 wins but the seven year old has been battling a string of injuries and hasn’t visited the winner’s stall since taking Group 1 $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington during the 2015 Melbourne Autumn Carnival

Lankan Rupee hasn’t raced 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 is on the comeback trail following an operation to repair some damage to his hock.

Duke Of Brunswick has drawn slightly better than Lankan Rupee at barrier seven with Damien Oliver sticking with the six year old after the pair combined for a first second to Ability in the Listed $150,000 All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) at Flemington on July 8.

The Robert Smerton trained Ability is chasing his fourth win on the trot and has drawn nicely at barrier four with Dwayne Dunn in the saddle again.

The Lindsay Park Team of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig have two runners in the Bletchngly Stakes, Keen Array from the inside gate with Regan Bayliss and Tashbeeh from barrier five for Cory Parish.

Santa Ana Lane with Mark Zahra booked to ride and Murt The Flirt with Chris Symons have drawn the two outside barriers at eleven and twelve.

The Bletchingly Stakes was rescheduled for the Ladbrokes Park Lakeside meeting at Sandown on Sunday after originally being set down to be run at Caulfield last Saturday before that meeting was called off after race four because of the gale force winds sweeping across the track.

Final field for 2017 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m)

# Last 10 Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Hcp Rating
1 x169x3x34x LANKAN RUPEE Mick Price Craig Newitt 9 58.5kg 115
2 0x00x415x6 LORD OF THE SKY Robbie Laing 6 58.5kg 104
3 83x211478x KEEN ARRAY David & B Hayes & T Dabernig Regan Bayliss 1 58.5kg 104
4 112x0x89x4 DIVINE TEN Kelvin Bourke Harry Coffey 10 58.5kg 89
5 089x60229x CHARMED HARMONY John Sadler Ms Katelyn Mallyon 8 58.5kg 100
6 x344943x19 TASHBEEH David & B Hayes & T Dabernig Cory Parish 5 58.5kg 101
7 24x43139x2 DUKE OF BRUNSWICK Mick Price Damien Oliver 7 58.5kg 94
8 x3189348x3 MURT THE FLIRT Brendan McCarthy Chris Symons 12 58.5kg 88
9 111121612x CHOCOLATE HOLIC Darren Weir Damian Lane 3 58.5kg 97
10 3047×49155 SANTA ANA LANE Lee & Anthony Freedman Mark Zahra 11 58.5kg 96
11 7x4136x111 ABILITY Robert Smerdon Dwayne Dunn 4 58.5kg 94
12 1x17731x1x SAVANNA AMOUR John Meagher Ben Melham 2 56.5kg 92

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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