Trainer Mick Price has confirmed that Lankan Rupee will return to Group 1 level for the 2014 Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley on September 26 despite suffering a shock first-up defeat in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) on Saturday.
Lankan Rupee was locked in a speed battle with Eloping in the early stages of the McEwen Stakes, but he looked as though he had the race won when he pulled clear of the talented filly at the 150 metre mark before injury-plagued Angelic Light finished over the top of the world’s highest rated sprinter to record an upset win.
Price told Correct Weight that nothing went right for Lankan Rupee in the McEwen Stakes, but said that the son of Redoute’s Choice had taken no harm from the first-up run and would continue his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
“He had to burn off the two three-year-olds and it was just the way that the race was run from barrier nine out of nine,” Price said.
“It just didn’t quite work out for us.
“Eloping actually stepped a little bit slow for her and when we were sort of eye balling the first half of the race I had a bad feeling about it at that point because I knew how hard they were going.
“I hoping that he could kick and get out of jail in the first half of the race, but Ryan Maloney put his horse in exactly the right spot, slipstreamed the right horse, came out at the right time and nabbed him on the line.
“He has pulled up really well.
“1000 metres is ok for him, but he is a better 1200 metres horse.”
Lankan Rupee is set to return to Moonee Valley for both the Moir Stakes and the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) on October 24, but Price admitted that he does not think that five-year-old is at his best on the tight-turning circuit.
Despite his concerns, Price said that he will not be changing the spring plans for Lankan Rupee and he remains confident that the talented gelding will be able to add to his Group 1 tally in the Moir and Manikato Stakes.
“I actually think he is better at other courses,” Price said.
“He is obviously good here at Caulfield and he is good at Flemington down the straight.
“Moonee Valley is ok for him, but I just think that the right things have got to happen for him.
“He is not a horse that you can ask to burn the first half a mile and expect him to kick off that, which is what we saw yesterday.
“1200 will be better, they are the races that we have earmarked for him and I think that they are the right races.
“The right things have got to happen on the day.”
Lankan Rupee will face Angelic Light again in the Moir Stakes, while the race is also set to feature triple Group 1 winner Buffering.