Trainer Mick Price has declared that there will be no excuses for Lankan Rupee if he suffers a shock loss in the 2014 McEwen Stakes at Moonee Valley tomorrow.
Lankan Rupee has not been seen at the races since he stamped himself as the best sprinter in the world with a dominant win in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 12, but Price is confident that the Redoute’s Choice gelding has done enough work to start his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a win in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) tomorrow.
“I was a bit concerned when we went to Sydney and he had what looked like a gut-buster on the heavy ten, especially leading there up the rise at Randwick, and I thought that was going to take a bit out of him,” Price told Racing Ahead this morning.
“Thankfully he went straight to the paddock, he had a good spell, he had a good prep and we have had a good bit of time with him.
“His first trial was good at Cranbourne, his trial in the fog was good according to Craig (Newitt) and his gallop on Tuesday was good.
“He is at the stage now where nothing will improve him apart from racing.
“I think that the run will improve him and then I have 20 days into the next 1200 metres race for him, which will be ideal.
“I don’t think I will be standing there using fitness as an excuse tomorrow.
“He has done the work and fitness over 1000 metres isn’t a concern.
“I don’t have any excuses.”
Lankan Rupee was allocated the outside barrier when the 2014 McEwen Stakes field was released on Wednesday, but Price does not believe that the wide draw will be an issue for the five-year-old.
Talented filly Eloping will have just 50 kilograms on her back under the weight-for-age condition of the McEwen Stakes and Price expects the daughter of Choisir to take up the running in the early stages of the race.
“Nine out of nine is a little bit of work if they kick up inside him, which would be stupid, and I think if he begins well he is definitely going to come across and it is just a matter of where Eloping goes with 50 kilos,” Price said.
“With 50 kilos you basically have to make it a catch me if you can scenario and if she does that and we get something to follow let the best horse win from there.”
Lankan Rupee will be given the opportunity to win the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m), Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival before heading to Hong Kong to take on some of the world’s best sprinters in the Group 1 Hong Kong International Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin in December.
Price does not believe that the program is too testing on Lankan Rupee and a clean sweep of the Group 1 events would cap off an incredible rise to prominence for a horse that was racing in benchmark 78 company at this time last year.
“I suppose the horse always had the ability in there somewhere,” Price said.
“With his entire status as young horse he wasn’t able to do it and gelding him brought out what was there.
“Before 12 months ago we didn’t know what was there, we always had a good opinion of the horse and we thought that he was just another nice horse with ability.
“Gelding him has certainly made him and I think that he is set for a good prep.”
Price is chasing his first win in the McEwen Stakes after previously missing the placings with Perfectly Ready in 2006 and Stratcombe in 2012.