Lankan Rupee has to give weight to all of his rivals in the 2015 Newmarket Handicap, but trainer Mick Price remains confident that the star sprinter will be hard to beat in the Group 1 event at Flemington on Saturday.
Lankan Rupee started his 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing campaign with an explosive victory in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 21 and Price told Sky Racing HQ this morning that the Redoute’s Choice gelding had trained on strongly heading into the 2015 Newmarket Handicap this weekend.
“Lankan is super and I am very happy with him,” Price said.
“He is very peaky and he looks great.
“He had a little bit of a chat to one of the Formula 1 Drivers (Romain Grosjean) yesterday and I thought that he looked fantastic out in the sun.
“I think that he will be hard to beat.”
Lankan Rupee was the star horse of the 2014 Autumn Racing Carnival and he recorded impressive wins in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m), Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m), but was not as dominant during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and he was beaten in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m), Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m).
The five-year-old finished behind both Terravista and Chautauqua in the Darley Classic and both of his rivals will have a weight advantage on him in the Newmarket Handicap, but Price believes that his star galloper is worthy of the top weight and is still capable of defending his Newmarket Handicap title this weekend.
“Both Chautauqua and Terravista beat him at weight-for-age, but he deserves his 58 and a half because he has won five Group 1s,” Price said.
“Even though his Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket last year were not off the true minimum, it doesn’t matter and I think he deserves his 58 and a half.
“He has to give two kilograms to Terravista and three kilograms to Chautauqua and he is there to beat beaten, but he is going great and if any horse can do it, it is him.
“I think that it is a very exciting race.”
Lankan Rupee is currently available at 2015 Newmarket Handicap odds of $3.30 with Ladbrokes and he is on the second line of betting behind Chautauqua ($3).