Moonee Valley may not be the ideal course for Lankan Rupee but his trainer and jockey are confident the top sprinter can win Friday night’s Manikato Stakes anyway.
Trainer Mick Price and jockey Craig Newitt are expecting more pressure in the $1 million race and expect that to play into Lankan Rupee’s hands.
The gelding has been beaten in two lead-up runs at Moonee Valley this campaign and also missed a run at Caulfield due to a quartercrack in his off-fore hoof.
However, a sparkling workout on the course proper at Caulfield last Saturday morning has allayed any fears about Lankan Rupee’s fitness.
The five-year-old’s latest defeat came in a field of five when he finished second to Buffering in a slowly-run Moir Stakes on September 26.
“Last time played more into Buffering’s hands,” Price said.
“He was allowed to run the first three (furlongs) very soft and we tagged him.
“I just think the difference at Moonee Valley is Buffering gains a half-length on the turn and we lose a half-length.
“Don’t be surprised to see Lankan Rupee fire out of the gates and lead him early.”
Newitt concurred with Price saying the gelding was in striking distance on the home turn but when he balanced up for the run home found himself a length behind Buffering which cost him victory.
He feels the bigger Manikato field will ensure a more solid tempo.
“I think we’ll make it a lot stronger,” Newitt said.
“I’ve got no issue going into the race with my horse. His work Saturday morning was nearly as good as he can work.”
While Lankan Rupee hasn’t raced for four weeks because of the quartercrack problem, Price says the horse is in perfect shape.
The injury forced the horse to miss only a day or two of work and Price said Lankan Rupee’s troubled hoof had not bothered him for more than a week.
“The farrier has done a fabulous job on it,” Price said.
“We’ve made adjustments to his shoes and he hasn’t been touched, quartercrack-wise, for seven to 10 days.
“His last solid gallop on the course proper on Saturday morning was fantastic with feet as they are.”