Top Melbourne jockey Craig Newitt predicts that super star sprinter Lankan Rupee will be unbeatable during the 2014 Spring Carnival Campaign.
Lankan Rupee is the short priced $1.28 favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au to continue his winning run in the Group 2 $200,000 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley today.
The Mick Price trained five year old was crowned the world’s best sprinter after a hat trick of Group 1 wins during the Autumn Carnival and Newitt can’t see anything in the near future good enough to lower his yellow and red colours.
“Lankan Rupee is a deadset star sprinter, primed right up for this sprint race,’’ Newitt said.
“I’d say he’ll come out and win this weekend and then I’d say he will remain unbeaten, at least in Australia.’’
Lankan Rupee continued to improve during the Autumn and after a first up win in the Group 2 $175,000 Schweppes Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 8 with Newitt aboard went on to beat a smart field in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 22.
The Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 8 was next on the hit list with Chad Schofield replacing Newitt but Mick Price’s first choice jockey was back in the saddle at Randwick where Lankan Rupee proved that he could handle all conditions with a dominating win on the heavy in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 12.
Newitt has worked out a definite plan for the McEwen Stakes and can see the speedy three year filly Eloping setting up a slick pace from her two gate with Lankan Rupee sitting within striking distance ready to pounce when let go.
“I imagine she will fly the gates and lead and I’ll fly across and sit second. The others will all sit behind us. They just don’t have the speed to go with us,” Newitt said.
“You never know. Eloping might bungle the start and I might get a flyer and lead. Either way I’m going to be close enough to her to grab her.’’
“He doesn’t have to get any better to remain unbeaten in Australia.’’
“He’s as good now as he was last campaign and he’s only just starting off.
“He trialled on the wet at Cranbourne and I didn’t let him go, he had a jump out at Caulfield in the fog and I pressed the button a little and he responded and he went to the Valley on Tuesday and he was simply smoking.’’
After today Price will step the Redoute’s Choice gelding back up to Group 1 company and will come back to Moonee Valley for the $450,000 City Jeep A.J. Moir Stakes (1200m) on September 26 and the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) on October 24.
The Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on the last day for the Melbourne Cup Carnival is also pencilled in with a trip to Hong Kong for the Group 1 HK$15m Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on December 14 also on the agenda.
The Peter Morgan and Craig Widdison trained Eloping is the only other runner under double figures in the nine horses McEwen Stakes field at $8 with Unpretentious the next in the betting at $11 ahead of Cauthen and Angelic Light at $17.