Trainer Mick Price has revealed that he is ‘very nervous’ Lankan Rupee will have to jump from the inside barrier in the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes at Royal Randwick this weekend.
Lankan Rupee is a clear favourite in 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes betting markets and Price told Sky Racing HQ this morning that he is happy with the physical condition of the Redoute’s Choice gelding, but is very worried about how the inside of the Royal Randwick track will play if there is rain in the lead-up to the opening day of The Championships on Saturday.
“He is hard fit, he is a very sound horse and we have no issues with him,” Price said.
“He goes into the race at his top and I am happy with that part of it.
“I am a bit nervous about barrier one, 18 runners and a deluge.
“The thing that I am worried about the most would be how the inside three of four metres races by the time you get to race seven.
“Hopefully it is an even track, but that is the part that concerns me the most; some of the inside parts of those tracks can be a little bit ordinary and get a bit choppy.”
There is set to be plenty of speed in the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes field, with likely leader Buffering starting next to Lankan Rupee in barrier two, and Price said that he is hoping that Lankan Rupee will not get caught in an early speed battle.
The leading Melbourne trainer is hoping that Lankan Rupee will be able to settle just behind the speed and finish with the same acceleration that he showed in both the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) and Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) in Melbourne.
“If it was on top of the ground and the track was quiet even, I think it would remind you a little bit of the Oakleigh Plate where we were three or four lengths off them for good reason,” Price said.
“If there is a bundle of pace up front we don’t need to be there and putting the race on for something midfield with cover to finish off.
“Barrier one makes me very nervous.”
Lankan Rupee will be making his Sydney racing debut in the T.J. Smith Stakes, but Price is confident that the four-year-old will not having any trouble handling the Sydney way of going after he scored a barrier trial victory over a strong field last Friday.
“After the Newmarket we put a plan in motion and he has had a couple of hard gallops the reverse way of going on the inside track at Caulfield,” Price said.
“The trial was good, no jock has ever intimated that he is on his wrong leg, so that part doesn’t worry me.”
Lankan Rupee is currently available at 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes odds of $3.80 and remains a clear favourite from Buffering ($6), Gordon Lord Byron ($8.50) and Zoustar ($11).