Trainer Mick Price has revealed that the 2014 Group 1 Hong Kong International Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin at December is firming as a likely race start for talented sprinter Lankan Rupee.
Price said last month that he was tossing up between running Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth or taking him overseas for the Hong Kong International Sprint, but he told Sky Racing HQ yesterday that the three-time Group 1 winner had already been given the first inoculation shot required for the gelding to be allowed to travel to Hong Kong.
“I think that Hong Kong is shortening in the market,” Price said.
“I actually spoke to Steve Ralph from Hong Kong yesterday about the barrier and where they jump from and how much of a disadvantage it would be if you drew one of the outside barriers there.
“It didn’t seem insurmountable and I know there is a bit of a knock on those horses over the 1200 at Sha Tin that draw out a bit, but I suppose that is the risk you take.
“Optimistically, if he was to win the Patinack (VRC Sprint Classic) and win the Hong Kong Sprint he is eligible for a bonus.
“I wouldn’t be doing the Winterbottom and Hong Kong and he would be having a break after the Patinack before we take him up.
“The stress of travel does take it out of them sometimes, but he had a good practice to Sydney and he will mature up a lot more again.
“It looks like a nice prep for him coming up.”
Lankan Rupee is yet to return to Price’s Caulfield stable, but he has spent just over a week in pre-training and is expected to begin full-time training sometime in the next fortnight.
Price said that he was happy with the physical condition of Lankan Rupee after he left the spelling paddock to begin pre-training and he is confident that the Redoute’s Choice gelding will be able to replicate the form that saw him win the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m), Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) during his autumn preparation.
“He is actually in pre-training at the moment and he will probably be in at Caulfield sometime in the next ten days,” Price said.
“I had a look at him a couple of weeks before he went into pre-training and he looks fantastic.
“He isn’t a horse that gets fat, but he is a good type of gelding and there is plenty of muscle on him.
“He didn’t have an exhausting prep; he raced when he was at his top for a while and he had the trip to Sydney, but he had five weeks between runs and seven or eight days in the paddock before he went.
“I think that he has spelled really well and there is no reason why he can’t come back and me nice and robust when he comes back here.”
Lankan Rupee is set to return to the races in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 6 before contesting the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) on September 26, the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) on October 24 and the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 8 before potentially heading to Hong Kong for the Group 1 event in December.