A flying Lankan Rupee has gone up a notch as he heads towards the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington according to his close companion and regular trackwork rider Dale Smith.
Lankan Rupee has been burdened with 58.5kg for the Newmarket Handicap following his electrifying win down the Flemington straight in the Group 1 $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) on February 21 and is currently the second favourite at $3 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
But Smith can’t see the world’s equal top rated sprinter getting beaten as he tries to make it back to back wins in the nation’s premier sprint race.
“He has taken it up another notch since the Lightning Stakes win and I think he will be better over 1200m,” Smith told the Herald Sun following another sensational trackwork session on Tuesday morning.
“He has just sprouted wings — he’s just flying. I can’t see him being beaten in the Newmarket, regardless of the extra weight he has to carry.”
The giant sprinter was able to complete the final 400m of his 800m gallop in 22.15s after being restrained to 25.70s for the first 400m of the workout.
Trainer Mick Price is also confident of winning another Newmarket Handicap after watching Lankan Rupee go through his paces this week.
“He had a good blow after a good workout,” Price said.
“I think he will be hard to beat. He is a bigger and stronger horse this time round. And he has learned to settle and doesn’t have Buffering carving out super early sectionals which ended up making Lankan Rupee the bunny last campaign.
“I think he now can produce his best sectionals over the last 400m and 200m.”
Lankan Rupee will be taking on a tougher field of sprinters in the Newmarket Handicap than he met in the Black Caviar Lightning and will be up against Terravista and Chautauqua again.
The Joe Pride trained Terravista and Chautauqua from the Team Hawkes Racing Stables both beat Lankan Rupee home in the weight for age Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington during the 2014 Melbourne Spring Carnival and both sprinters will meet him better at the weights under the handicap conditions on Saturday.
“Two good sprinters have beaten him at weight-for-age and now he must give them weight in the Newmarket,” Price said.
Under the weight age conditions all three sprinters carried 58.5kg in the Darley Classic while in the Newmarket Handicap on Saturday Terravista has been given 56.5kg and Chautauqua will only have to carry 55.5kg.
Chautauqua heads the market order for the Newmarket Handicap at $2.80 just ahead of Lankan Rupee at $3, Terravista at $4.80 and three year old Brazen Beau at $4.80.