Group 1 winners Lankan Rupee and Earthquake have both won barrier trials at Cranbourne this morning ahead of the start of their 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing campaigns.
Lankan Rupee contested the opening barrier trial of the morning over 800 metres and he was settled just behind the leaders by jockey Dale Smith in the early stages, while General Truce and Bel Sprinter took up the running.
Smith asked Lankan Rupee for a small effort at the 250 metre mark at the four-time Group 1 winner responded to well to run past General Truce and Bel Sprinter and score a comfortable win from Peter Moody-trained A Time For Julia in a time of 45.93 seconds, while the likes of Greg Eurell-trained Hosting, Australia Stakes winner Mourinho and the consistent Akavoroun were all given quiet trials in the same heat.
Lankan Rupee will now return to racing in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 21 before he progresses to the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 14 and the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 4.
Earthquake is also on a path to the Group 1 sprints during the 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing and she produced a professional performance to take out the third barrier trial of the morning over 800 metres.
Jockey Chad Schofield, who has been booked to ride Earthquake in the Oakleigh Plate, wasted no time taking Earthquake to the lead in the early stages of the trial, but she was quickly challenged by Mick Price-trained Excelette.
Schofield kept Earthquake under a fairly tight hold throughout the barrier trial, but she was still unable to run away from her rivals in the final stages to record an impressive win from Excellette and Lexgetreedy in a time of 45.79 seconds – a quicker time than what Lankan Rupee ran in the opening barrier trial of the morning.
Earthquake is set to return to racing in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 28 and she will be chasing her second win at the highest level of racing after taking out the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield a year ago.
Lankan Rupee is currently available at 2015 Newmarket Handicap odds of $7 with Ladbrokes Australia, while Earthquake is priced at a quote of $17 to take out the same race.