A battled scared Lankan Rupee will be right to defend his title in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on the first day of ‘The Championships’ on Saturday.
Lankan Rupee pulled up with a torn, superficial off-front pectoral muscle and some stifle inflammation after finishing sixth as favourite to Chris Waller’s brilliant three year old Brazen Beau in the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 14.
Top Caulfield trainer Mick Price said that the tough sprinter has recovered and is showing no signs of any soreness but admits the final test won’t come until the pressure is on at the end of the 1200m of the weight for age contest on Saturday.
“His action is good. So it’s something that you’re not going to really find out until you put the acid on him on raceday when they’ve got to really hit out and savage the line,” Price told AAP.
“But I think he’s pretty good.”
Price has dissected this year’s version of the T J Smith Stakes and rates it stronger than last year which saw Lankan Rupee lead all of the way to win on a bog track.
“But it’s probably a better race this year,” Price said.
Highly rated sprinters Terravista and Chautauqua as well as last start Group 1 Galaxy winner Sweet Idea are among the final field of eleven in the T J Smith Stakes and Price will be looking to have jockey Craig Newitt settling Lankan Rupee just behind the speed from barrier four.
“He doesn’t go well when he’s too held up. I don’t need to be the bunny but there’s a balance between being the bunny and having him too held up,” Price said.
“He should be right. He goes well in Sydney and the reverse way.”
The Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua (2nd) and Joe Pride’s Terravista (3rd) will clash again with Lankan Rupee after all three were blown away by the brilliance of Brazen Beau in the Newmarket Handicap.
The Gai Waterhouse trained Sweet Idea has also raced herself into contention for the T J Smith Stakes after collecting her first Group 1 victory with a first up win in the $400,000 Canadian Club Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill on March 21.
T J Smith Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.80 Chautauqua, $3 Terravista, $5 Lankan Rupee, $7 Sweet Idea, $26 Tiger Tees, $31 Fast ‘N’ Rocking, $41 Famous Seamus, $51 Rain Affair, Lord Of The Sky, $101 Fontelina, Press Report.