Suffering a shock defeat in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) first-up on September 6th, trainer Mick Price is confident in a return to the winner’s circle and fourth Group1 title for the world’s leading sprinter Lankan Rupee in Friday’s Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.
Jumping from the gates well in the McEwen Stakes, Lankan Rupee was immediately steered to the fore of the pack, setting a good pace and appearing to be on track for another race win before fading late and being pipped on the line by fellow Moir Stakes nominee Angelic Light.
Pleased with 1000m hit-out completed by the Redoute’s Choice gelding at the Valley on Monday, Price told AAP he is confident the step-up to 1200m will play directly into Lankan Rupee’s strengths on Friday and believes he has improved tenfold since his first competitive run this time in.
“I think he has improved a lot and he’ll be hard to beat,” Price said.
“I remember when he beat Snitzerland down the straight over 1000 metres I don’t think 1000 is his ideal distance.
“I think 1200 metres is a really nice journey for him so I’d be pretty confident that he comes here (on Friday night), steps out and does his best and wins.”
Partnering the classy five-year-old in Monday’s work, regular hoop Craig Newitt said he is relishing the thought of another Group 1 victory aboard Lankan Rupee in the 2014 Moir Stakes.
“Mick just wanted him to have a nice hit-out. He said you don’t have to hold him back to the other horse,” Newitt said.
“He won’t be as fresh and I think if he draws a reasonable barrier, with horses like Buffering in there, he should get a nice run in the race. And hopefully class prevails.”
Securing an impressive record of nine wins and four minor places from just 17 competitive starts so far, Lankan Rupee was unable to secure much of a consistent run of form until his gelding at the conclusion of the 2013 Autumn Carnival.
Having since claimed seven wins and two minor places from nine starts, Lankan Rupee without doubt returned to racing in career-best form this year; completing a four length victory in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) first-up before claiming three consecutive wins at the highest level of Australian racing in taking out the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m), Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m).