Champion sprinter Lankan Rupee has cruised to an easy barrier trial win at Cranbourne in preparation for his race return.
Monday’s 800m-trial was the 2013-14 Horse of the Year’s first public appearance since his failure in the TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick in April.
Lankan Rupee ran 47.59secs to record a 1-1/4 length win over Angelic Light in the trial with Srikandi another long neck third with all three heading to the Manikato Stakes.
Trainer Mick Price said Lankan Rupee would make his return in the Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield on October 10.
He will then defend the Group One Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley on October 23 before he runs in the Darley Classic on the final day of the Melbourne Cup carnival.
Following his TJ Smith disappointment, Lankan Rupee was found to have bruising to a hind fetlock joint but Price said he had fully recovered.
He said the gelding may head to Caulfield on Saturday for a race day gallop to “spunk him up a bit”.
“He still looks a little bit round, but he handled that half-mile trial easily,” Price said.
“He was bright and bouncy and I can see no reason why he won’t come up.
“Last preparation I thought he was going to come up too when he won the Lightning, but then the Newmarket was a query and the TJ was no good.”
Price has ruled out a trip to Hong Kong for the International meeting in December.
Angelic Light’s spring campaign will be limited to two Group One sprints – the Moir Stakes (1000m) and the Manikato (1200m).
The mare beat Lankan Rupee in the McEwen Stakes at Moonee Valley in September last year at her second run back from spending 12 months sidelined with a tendon injury.
She then ran a short head second in the Manikato with Damien Oliver unsuccessfully protesting the result.
The mare only had one autumn run, finishing seventh in the William Reid Stakes.
“We got her ready for the William Reid and about three weeks later the tendon got angry again,” Griffiths said.
“Ideally it needs six months to be spot-on, but six months puts you into October, so this way we can give her a nice rest after two runs and get her ready for the autumn.”
Srikandi, winner of two Group One races during the Brisbane winter carnival, pleased trainer Ciaron Maher with her trial.
“She’ll probably have another trial that will tighten her up and then head to the Manikato with her,” he said.