Lankan Rupee has taken another step to a racetrack return with a narrow Caulfield jump-out victory.
The Mick Price-trained sprinter finished on terms with stablemate Run Gypsy Run in an 800m jump-out on Tuesday.
Ridden by Michael Dee, who claimed his first Group One win on Foundry in Saturday’s Metropolitan Handicap, the gelding wasn’t pressured from the gates and was strong at the finish.
Lankan Rupee, once rated the world’s equal best sprinter, hasn’t raced since finishing last in the Spring Stakes at Morphettville in August after which he was found to have suffered an exercise induced pulmonary haemorrhage.
He is set to run in the Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday week but a substandard performance may spell the end of the gelding’s career.
“His form has to be good for him to persevere,” Price said.
“If he can’t be competitive at the top level I’m not going to let him dribble down to a lesser level.
“How his career is from this point depends on his race form.”
Lankan Rupee was last successful in the Lightning Stakes in February 2015 and has had only seven starts since.
He was diagnosed with bone bruising following a poor showing in the 2015 TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick and then suffered a hock injury when third in the Schillaci Stakes in October 2015.
After a year off and two runs last spring, Lankan Rupee suffered a foreleg injury which ruled him out of a trip to Perth last November and also an autumn campaign.
Price said the gelding was showing no effects from past injuries ahead of his latest return.