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Former number one rated sprinter Lankan Rupee has drawn worse than midfield in barrier nine for the 2017 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

Lankan Rupee, above, has drawn barrier 9 in the Bletchingly Stakes at Caulfield. Photo by Sarah Ebbett.

Lankan Rupee, above, has drawn barrier 9 in the Bletchingly Stakes at Caulfield. Photo by Sarah Ebbett.

Thirteen horses make up the Bletchingly Stakes field with Lankan Rupee’s stablemate Duke Of Brunswick drawing next to him at barrier ten with Damien Oliver in the saddle.

Regular rider Craig Newitt takes the ride again on the veteran sprinter who will turn eight next week but trainer Mick Price couldn’t be happier with the giant gelding who will be having his first run for almost nine months.

Lankan Rupee has been hit with several injuries over the last couple of years with his latest hock problem being the reason why the five times Group 1 winner hasn’t started since running fourth to Malaguerra in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on the final day of the 2016 Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Price has gradually brought the Redoute’s Choice seven year old back to full fitness and said that his gallop on the course proper at Caulfield on Tuesday morning with Michael Dee aboard was his best for a long time.

“This morning (Tuesday) was probably the best piece of work on the course proper, he worked with Duke Of Brunswick, he sat off a fair way, different horses one has won $4 million the other has won $400,000, but that is how they worked too,” Price told racing.com.

“The main thing about Lankan Rupee is that his action is right and we’ve had no concern with his action.”

“It is not race pressure but it is as close as we can get.”

Price said that while Lankan Rupee would probably needs the run, he would not be surprised if he did figure in the finish at the end of the 1200m of the Bletchingly Stakes.

“I’m not saying he can win, but I think he is probably going to balance up fifth or sixth and find the line, I think he will run really well, all I need to do is see him hit out properly, he has been out a while but he has done a fair bit of work, I think he will be in the thick end of the prizemoney,” Price said.

“His trials have been fair, haven’t been brilliant like the old Lankan Rupee but I think if we ran well here, there are two 1400m races and the Memsie is worth $1 million.”

A strong performance by Lankan Rupee on Saturday would make Price keen to step him up to the Caulfield 1400m in the Group 2 $200,000 P.B. Lawrence Stakes on August 19 and in the Group 1 $1m Memsie Stakes two weeks later.

Duke Of Brunswick is coming off a first up second to Bletchingly Stakes rivals Ability in the Listed $150,000 All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) at Flemington on July 8 but Price thinks he would have to improve considerably to be a threat on Saturday.

“I don’t think he would have beaten Ability anyway, he was looking for runs and couldn’t quite find them,” Price said.

“Look, he will run well, but I don’t know if he is good enough to win one of these, I couldn’t have him going any better, he is a lovely horse, but I can’t see where he is all of a sudden going to pull a career best out.”

Ability is chasing his fourth won on the trot and will jump from barrier seven with Craig Williams taking over the reins again from last start winning jockey Dwayne Dunn.

The Mick Kent trained Supido will be one of the hardest to beat again after resuming with a first up win in the Group 3 $150,000 PFD Food Services Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on July 15 with apprentice Beau Mertens take over from Luke Nolen on Supido who has drawn midfield at barrier seven.

Tashbeeh has drawn the best of the two Lindsay Park runners at barrier two with Cory Parish in the saddle while Keen Array will jump from gate eight with comeback jockey Regan Bayliss getting the call up.

Trainer Darren Weir will saddle up former West Australian trained Chocolate Holic for the first time in the Bletchingly Stakes with the four year old drawing nicely at barrier three with Damian Lane in the saddle.

Final Field for the 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 83x211478x KEEN ARRAY David & B Hayes & T Dabernig Regan Bayliss 8 58.5kg 104
3 112x0x89x4 DIVINE TEN Kelvin Bourke Harry Coffey 11 58.5kg 89
4 089x60229x CHARMED HARMONY John Sadler Ms Katelyn Mallyon 12 58.5kg 100
5 2351556×52 DAYTONA GREY Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas Clare Lindop 1 58.5kg 94
6 x344943x19 TASHBEEH David & B Hayes & T Dabernig Cory Parish 2 58.5kg 101
7 x113x930x1 SUPIDO Michael Kent Beau Mertens (a) 5 58.5kg 103
8 24x43139x2 DUKE OF BRUNSWICK Mick Price Damien Oliver 10 58.5kg 94
9 x3189348x3 MURT THE FLIRT Brendan McCarthy Chris Symons 4 58.5kg 88
10 111121612x CHOCOLATE HOLIC Darren Weir Damian Lane 3 58.5kg 97
11 3047×49155 SANTA ANA LANE Lee & Anthony Freedman Mark Zahra 13 58.5kg 96
12 7x4136x111 ABILITY Robert Smerdon Craig Williams 7 58.5kg 94
13 1x17731x1x SAVANNA AMOUR John Meagher Ben Melham 6 56kg 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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