2014 T.J. Smith Stakes favourite Lankan Rupeewill take on a strong field in a barrier trial over 835 metres at the Randwick Kensington track on Friday morning.
Lankan Rupee has not been seen at the races since he took out the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) in impressive fashion at Flemington on March 8 and will be chasing the fourth win of his preparation in the T.J. Smith Stakes following his victories in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 8 and the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at the same venue on February 22.
The Redoute’s Choice gelding will face a number of talented gallopers in the barrier trial on Friday morning; with Gypsy Diamond, Hawkspur, Safeguard, Scandiva and Snitzerland all set to contest the Randwick trial.
Snitzerland is also heading towards the T.J. Smith Stakes and will have her final hit-out in the barrier trial after being scratched from the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens last weekend due to a wet track.
The Snitzel mare has performed well in two starts this preparation; winning the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 15 before finishing an unlucky second in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick on March 15.
Another sprinter that is set to contest the T.J. Smith Stakes is Anthony Cummings-trained Fontelina, who is still chasing a maiden win at Group 1 level after being narrowly denied a victory in the William Reid Stakes by Spirit Of Boom.
Cummings considered running Fontelina in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens last weekend, but opted to give the son of Testa Rossa a barrier trial start instead; with stablemate Scandiva also on track to follow the same path to the T.J. Smith Stakes.
Hawkspur has been included in the nominations for both the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) and Group 3 Neville Sellwood Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, but is not expected to contest either race; with the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) now the major 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival goal for the Purrealist gelding.
John O’Shea-trained Gypsy Diamond is also on track to contest the Doncaster Mile, instead of the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m), while Safeguard has been included in the nominations for a number of races during The Championships.