Talented sprinter Lankan Rupee upstaged a strong field to win a barrier trial over 800 metres at Cranbourne this morning.
Lankan Rupee jumped from the gates well and went straight to the lead, which he maintained throughout the trial to record a comfortable victory from Nikki Burke-trained Unpretentious and 2013 Victoria Derby winner Polanski.
The Redoute’s Choice gelding stamped himself as a Group 1 contender with an impressive 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign that included three wins from four starts.
Lankan Rupee resumed with a comfortable win in the 55 Second Challenge (955m) at Moonee Valley on October 4 and was found to be suffering from the thumps when third in the same event on October 25.
He returned to his best form with a narrow win over the talented Snitzerland in the Listed Earl Grey Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on Crown Oaks Day before finishing his campaign with a dominant win in the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on November 16.
Lankan Rupee is expected to return to the races in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 8 and will step back-up to Group 1 level for the Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at the same venue on February 22 before a possible tilt in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 8.
Polanski was the star three-year-old stayer of the spring and looks as though he has returned for his autumn preparation in excellent condition; showing good early speed to finish third in the barrier trial this morning.
Trainer Robbie Laing is confident that the Rakti colt can be competitive at weight-for-age level during the 2014 Melbourne Festival Of Racing and he will return to the races in the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield next Saturday.
Polanski will then contest the Group 1 Australia Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1 and if he performs well is a chance of returning to the races the following weekend for a crack at the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m).
The Galaxy winner Bel Sprinter made his first public appearance since his slightly disappointing spring preparation in the barrier trial this morning and worked home well under a heavy hold to finish fourth, while the Matt Laurie-trained duo of Freereturn and Tigerland finished at the tail of the field.