Super star sprinter Lankan Rupee is expected to continue his winning run when he takes on eight rivals in the Group 2 $200,000 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
The star of the Autumn Carnival rounded off his preparation for his return to the race track with a pleasing gallop at Moonee Valley on Tuesday morning, prompting trainer Mick Price to clear him for another visit to the winner’s stall.
“I’ll be pretty smashed up if he doesn’t perform right up to his best and run really well on Saturday. I think he’ll win,” Price told AAP.
Ridden by race day jockey Craig Newitt, Lankan Rupee sat off stablemate Lion Of Belfort in the Moonee Valley gallop and powered to the line over the final stages.
“Craig just said he’s flying,” Price said.
“I was happy with the working partner, something to chase up and to me he (Lankan Rupee) had a lot up his sleeve and I know Craig’s opinion is the same.”
Lankan Rupee scored a Group 1 winning hat trick in the Autumn with victories in the $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield and $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Autumn Carnival then went to Sydney to win the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.
Lankan Rupee’s outside barrier (9) won’t be a problem and the world’s highest rated sprinter should have no trouble accounting for the small weight for age field.
Co-trainers Peter Morgan and Craig Widdison are also expecting a bold first showing from Eloping will jump from gate two with Linda Meech to ride.
Meech was aboard Eloping in her final hit out at Moonee Valley on Tuesday morning aannd Morgan was more than pleased with the way the Choisir filly worked to the line.
“I thought it was a very nice gallop for her,” Morgan said.
“She’s still got a bit of a coat on her, she hasn’t changed since she was winning during the autumn. But everything is in good order with her.”
New Zealand trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young were reluctant to take on Lankan Rupee but had to kick off the Cauthen’s Spring Carnival campaign this weekend.
“I’d prefer to run him in the 1200m race, but he’s a long way down the ballot order, we’ll run in the 1000m race,” Busuttin told Racing Network.
Cauthen will be having his first run back after running second over 1200m at Trentham on January 25, but the Darci Brahma four year old is a winner at Moonee Valley during August last year in the Listed $120,000 Essendon Nissan McKenzie Stakes (1200m).
Group 1 William Reid Stakes placegetter Unpretentious is also resuming and has come up with barrier five with Craig Williams to ride.
Cranbourne trainer Robbie Griffiths will saddle up two runners in the McEwen Stakes, It Is Written from gate four with Matthew Allen and Angelic Light with Ryan Maloney from the inside gate.
Orujo will carry the Godolphin royal blue and will jump from gate seven with Tommy Berry.