Trainer Mick Price believes that talented sprinter Lankan Rupee is forward enough to win the Group 3 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Lankan Rupee finished his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with two impressive wins in the Listed Earl Grey Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on November 7 and the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on November 16 and looks to have returned from a stint in the spelling paddock in excellent condition; defeating a strong field to win a barrier trial over 800 metres at Cranbourne last Thursday.
Price has been thrilled with the form of Lankan Rupee since he was gelded at the end of his autumn campaign last year and told Racing Victoria that he is confident that the son of Redoute’s Choice will be hitting the line strongly in the Rubiton Stakes on Saturday.
“I think Lankan is will put himself there to win, he’s more forward and is going to hit the line well,” Price said.
“He’s a four-year-old gelding so he’s uncomplicated and he’s big and strong and sound and tough.
“He also carries no issues apart from the fact that he needs to be fit enough.
“He flies the gates and puts himself there like a good sprinter but I’d just love to see him relax a little bit better and not be compromised at the finish.”
Lankan Rupee has not raced at Group 1 level since he finished eighth behind Nechita in the 2012 edition of the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m), but is set to receive a number of opportunities at the highest level of racing during his 2014 Melbourne Festival Of Racing campaign.
The four-year-old will contest the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 22 second-up before taking part in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 8 and the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 21.
Price has not had any success in the major sprint races during the Melbourne Festival Of Racing and will be having his first runner in the Oakleigh Plate since Gran Sasso finished sixth behind Starspangledbanner in the 2010 edition of the race.
The leading trainer has had seven previous runners in the Newmarket Handicap and is yet to have a horse finish in the placings, but both Lankan Rupee ($15) and Lion Of Belfort ($8.50) have been well respected in the early 2014 Newmarket Handicap betting markets at Ladbrokes.