Caulfield trainer Mick Price has his star sprinter Lankan Rupee ready to ‘fire like a bullet’ in tonight’s Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.
Price will be expecting Lankan Rupee to use his early gate speed from barrier nine to cross to the rails and possibly take control of the race from the start.
“Lankan Rupee fires out of the gates like a bullet and while Buffering is a leader and we lead him at Randwick (TJ Smith Stakes) and it doesn’t mean that we don’t lead him again and it depends what Bounding does on the outside of us,” Price told the Herald Sun.
“It’s a million dollar race and we’ll have real red hot go at it and we’ll put him in the race early.”
“We have got our tactics that we think we are going to deploy. Buffering is drawn four and we are drawn nine.”
Lankan Rupee took all before during the Autumn Carnival, stringing together four wins, including a Group 1 hat trick with wins in the $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 22, the $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 8 and the $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 12.
But the Redoute’s Choice five year old has been rolled at his two Spring Carnival runs at Moonee Valley and Price is keen to see him get back into the winner’s stall.
Lankan Rupee was sent of the $1.22 favourite in the Group 2 $200,000 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (1000m) September 6 but was collared on the line by Angelic Light then as the $1.55 favourite he failed to rein in Buffering in another tight finish when second in the Group 1 $450,000 City Jeep Moir Stakes (1200m) on September 26.
The high profile sprinter had recently missed a couple of days works because of a cracked hoof, but Price and race jockey Craig Newitt are confident he is back to his best following a solid hit our at Caulfield last Saturday morning.
“We haven’t done too much work with him but he galloped super on the course proper here at Caulfield last Saturday,” Price said.
Newitt added “Lankan Rupee is going really good, the foot is not a problem.”
Lankan Rupee’s record indicates that Moonee Valley is not his favourite track with only one win from four starts on the tight turning circuit and Price can’t wait to get back to the large spaces at Flemington for the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) on November 8.
“He has got quite a big stride and I think Moonee Valley suits some horses better than others, but that’s not to say he goes poorly there,” Price said.
“But we can’t wait to get him on a bigger track, put it that way. I am looking forward to Flemington and we just have to get over another Moonee Valley run, that’s all.”
Lankan Rupee is holding down favouritism for the Manikato Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au at $3.80, but is being pressured for the top spot by Sydney’s new sprinting star Terravista who is marked at $4.
Buffering is also high up in the betting at $5.50 with Rebel Dane coming in for some solid support at $8.50 while Angelic Light is just into double figure odds at $11.