A fit and emerging top-liner has upstaged the world’s former highest rated sprinter in his return run at Sandown.
Ability charged home to overhaul multiple Group One winner Lankan Rupee in the rescheduled weight-for-age Group Three Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) on Sunday.
The Bletchingly was to be run at Caulfield on July 29 but was one of five races called off because of dangerous winds.
Ridden by Dwayne Dunn, Ability ($5) ran down the $4.40 favourite Lankan Rupee to score by a long neck with Duke Of Brunswick ($5.50) 3-1/2 lengths away third.
Dunn said Ability overcame adversity to record his fourth straight win this campaign.
“He didn’t step that well and they shoved across me. Then Tashbeeh pulled back in my face and put me in a very awkward spot,” Dunn said.
“Then at the 600 metres he didn’t handle the going that well until he balanced up.
“Going into a race like that, in good form, he was going to be hard to beat but the 1200 metres was a question mark.
“I think he’s put that beyond doubt now.”
Dunn admitted if he was chasing the old, and fitter, Lankan Rupee he may have struggled to get to the eight-year-old.
“A year or so ago we wouldn’t have got that close to him,” Dunn said.
“He’s been a grand old campaigner and it’s great to see him still competitive.”
Lankan Rupee was having his first start since running fourth in the Darley Classic last November after which he pulled up sore.
Trainer Mick Price said the gelding ran well but the lack of race conditioning told in the final stages.
“The main thing was his action was correct,” Price said.
“I was disappointed that we got beaten but I think he was a bit soft in the last 50 metres.”
Price said the rescheduling of the Bletchingly may force a change of plans for Lankan Rupee.
The trainer said it wasn’t ideal having just 13 days from the Bletchingly into the PB Lawrence (1400m) at Caulfield on August 19 and another two weeks to the $1 million Memsie Stakes on September 2.
“I’ll have to have a bit of a think about it now,” Price said.