Jockey Craig Newitt has declared Lankan Rupee is the one to beat in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Newitt rode the Mick Price trained sprinter at Caulfield on Tuesday morning and returned with a glowing report for the Redoute’s Choice four year old.
“He ran home in 24 seconds and change (for the last 400m) and he never got out of first gear,” Newitt told AAP.
“He’ll go there on Saturday and he’s the one they’ve got to beat.”
Lankan Rupee has drawn barrier eight in a full field of eighteen with first up specialist Bel Sprinter drawing to his outside at gate ten.
Bel Sprinter has won five of his six first up attempts and scored the biggest win of his career with a first up win in the Group 1 $350,000 Canterbury BMW Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill during last year’s Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Lankan Rupee showed that he was on the verge of being one of Melbourne’s top sprinters at the end of the last year’s Melbourne Spring Carnival with a two and a quarter lengths win in the Group 3 $135,000 TMB Printing Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on November 16.
That win was Newitt’s second aboard Lankan Rupee and the pair combined again for a first up win in the Group 2 $175,000 Schweppes Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 8.
The win of Snitzerland in last Saturday’s Group 1 $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington has also boosted the confidence of Price and Newitt for the Oakleigh Plate after Lankan Rupee beat the Gerald Ryan trained mare in the Listed $150,000 Dilmah Earl Grey Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on November 7.
“He’s flying,” Price told AAP.
“He hasn’t missed a beat.”
“I thought Caulfield last Saturday was a hard day for a lot of the horses. I know on the Sunday morning my horses had felt the day, so he’s had a very light week.
“He worked well on Saturday morning. He’ll work well on Tuesday and he’ll take his place next Saturday.”