Trainer Mick Price is still tossing up whether he will run last Saturday’s Oakleigh Plate winner Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 8.
Price said that he will make a decision later in the week but he has several options for Lankan Rupee after the four year old blew away his opposition with a one and quarter lengths win in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield.
The Caulfield trainer is eyeing off the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 12 and is figuring out the best route to take.
“I just have to have a think,” Price told Melbourne radio RSN.
“Do you go to the Newmarket which is a tough 1200 (metres) and then into the William Reid at his fourth run?
“The TJ Smith is worth $2.5 million so why wouldn’t you save enough fuel for the TJ Smith?
“Should you run in the Newmarket? Maybe yes, maybe no. I’ve got a bit of thinking to do.
“He’s had two solid runs and if I give him a break now and then run him in the William Reid (1200m) and then the TJ Smith, he would be spot-on.”
Price described Craig Newitt’s winning ride on Lankan Rupee in the Oakleigh Plate as “perfect, just perfect” as the top jockey sat the four year old just off the pace before letting loose in the straight for a well-deserved Group 1 win.
Price already has the Newmarket Handicap earmarked for his stable star Samaready with Newitt to continue his long association with the Group 1 winning mare, leaving the ride on Lankan Rupee vacant if Price decides to run his new sprinting star at Flemington.
If Price decides to miss the Newmarket Handicap he could step Lankan Rupee straight up to weight for age company in the Group 1 $400,000 Hacer Group William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 21 before heading to Sydney.
Lankan Rupee showed over the Melbourne Spring Carnival that he was on the verge of breaking through at the top level with a win in the Listed $150,000 Dilmah Earl Grey Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on November 7 before scoring an easy win in the Group 3 $135,000 TMB Printing Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on November 16.
Price then produced Lankan Rupee first up to lead all of the way for a three and three quarter lengths win in the Group 2 $175,000 Schweppes Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 8 as his final lead up to the Oakleigh Plate.
Lankan Rupee’s Oakleigh Plate win has elevated him to outright $3.80 favourite for the Newmarket Handicap with Ladbrokes.com.au who have last year’s Newmarket Handicap winner Shamexpress the second pick at $5.50 while stablemate Samaready is $6 just in front of last Saturday’s Group 1 Futurity Stakes winner Moment Of Change at $6.50.