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.
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|