Lankan Rupee’s trainer Mick Price is searching for answers after the star sprinter was beaten in the Schillaci Stakes.
As trainer Robert Smerdon’s stable recruit Alpha Miss raced to victory in the Group Two sprint at Caulfield on Saturday, the $1.50 favourite Lankan Rupee weakened to finish third after leading.
The loss left Lankan Rupee’s jockey Craig Newitt dumbfounded.
Price said Lankan Rupee would undergo tests because he felt the sprinter was reluctant to properly let down.
“To my eye he didn’t look like he was hitting out 100 per cent,” Price said.
“He struggled to run third.
“It’s not the horse that we are used to and I just think he’s looking after himself.
“I think the alarm bells are ringing as to this preparation.”
Alpha Miss had trialled well in the same heat as Lankan Rupee recently and worked in company with the sprinter a week ago heading into her first start for Smerdon.
A Gimcrack Stakes winner and Group placegetter before Saturday, Alpha Miss sat just off Lankan Rupee as Newitt kept the sprinter off the rail from the wide draw.
When Lankan Rupee was unable to put his rivals away in the straight, Alpha Miss ($7.50) pounced and went on to win by three quarters of a length over $61 shot Cashed with Lankan Rupee the same margin away third.
“She has impressed us since we’ve had her,” Smerdon said.
“She went to Cranbourne trials and Craig (Williams) was a bit overwhelmed with how well she went in her trial and everything she has done since has really pleased us.”
Alpha Miss will head to the Manikato Stakes.