Trainer Mick Price has confirmed that leading sprinter Lankan Rupee will have two jump-outs at Flemington over the coming fortnight before he returns to racing in the 2015 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes at Flemington on February 21.
Lankan Rupee has now been back in work for over two months and Price admits that the Redoute’s Choice gelding is still carrying some of the weight that he put on during his stint in the spelling paddock, but is confident that the five-year-old will take plenty of benefit from barrier trials at Caulfield on February 3 and February 10.
“He is great,” Price said.
“He has a little belly on him, but he trials Tuesday and then the following Tuesday and then he is off to the Lightning first-up.
“His feet are fantastic, he has the normal plates on with no quarter cracks and they have all grown out.
“The horse is super in himself and I am super happy.”
Lankan Rupee is set to press on to the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) for clash with Terravista and Chautauqua at Flemington on March 14 before he returns to Sydney to defend his title in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 4.
The gifted galloper has shown plenty of talent since he made his racing debut with back-to-back wins during the 2012 Spring Racing Carnival, but it wasn’t until he was gelded at the end of his autumn campaign in 2013 that he developed into one of the best sprinters in the world.
Lankan Rupee stamped himself as a genuine Group contender when he took out both the Listed Earl Grey Stakes (1000m) and Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1200m) during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival and he was named Australian Horse Of The Year after he won the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m), Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m), Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) during a flawless autumn campaign.
The world’s highest-rated sprinter suffered shock defeats in both the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) and Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at the start of his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival preparation before he returned to winning form in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 24 and finished a credible third in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 8.
Lankan Rupee is currently available at 2015 T.J. Smith Stakes odds of $8 and is on the fourth line of betting behind Terravista ($4.60), Chautauqua ($5) and Deep Field ($6).