Caulfield trainer Mick Price is keen to step his veteran sprinter Lankee Rupee up to 1400m in the Group 1 $1m Memsie Stakes at Caulfield on September 2.
Lankan Rupee is the winner of eleven races from twenty-six starts, five at Group 1 level, but the seven year old is yet to race beyond 1200m.
“We’ve never been to 1400 metres but he’s always had good reserves of stamina on the track and a couple of times in the Manikato (Stakes) and T.J. Smith (Stakes) he was really pressed to win those races and showed plenty of stamina and fight,” Price told racing.com.
Price and jockey Craig Newitt were happy with the way Lankan Rupee performed in an 800m jump out at Caulfield this morning and he is on track to kick off his 2017 Spring Carnival campaign in the Group 3 $150,000 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on July 29.
The Redoute’s Choice gelding will then be tested for the first time over 1400m in the Group 2 $200,000 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 19 as a lead up to the Memsie Stakes.
“He’s on track to run in the 1200-metre Bletchingly in two weeks and then might go to 1400 metres for the first time in the P.B. Lawrence and it leads us beautifully to the Memsie two weeks after that,” Price said.
Newitt was happy with the way Lankan Rupee stretched out over the concluding stages to finish third in the quickest heat of the morning, but admitted that he doesn’t have that early speed anymore that he displayed in his early days.
“Craig was of the opinion that his action was good, which is the main thing,” Price said.
“He ran third, beaten three lengths in the quickest heat of the day and he did it pretty well.
“Craig said he hasn’t got the same speed as he had a couple of years ago, which is fine, as the main thing is that he is better in the wind and is getting fitter.”
Price can see the giant gelding sitting off the pace when he resumes in the Bletchingly Stakes and expects him to take a great deal of benefit from the run.
“He’s going to sit off the speed a bit first-up and I’d say he’ll be working home at them. I don’t reckon he can win first-up but I need to get him going.
“He might take a run or two before he’s got that tough, hard fitness and I’d say he’s had a pretty good prep. I don’t think he has to win first-up at all costs. If he can win that would be great.”
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 Moonee 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.