Mick Price concedes that there are a number of obstacles confronting his outstanding sprinter Lankan Rupee winning back-to-back Newmarket Handicaps, but the trainer believes that history could be his main stumbling block.
On Saturday morning Lankan Rupee went through one of his final major gallops in strong fashion impressing Price with the the sprinter’s progress since the Lightning Stakes.
“Dale Smith came down and rode him and we were impressed with the work he did. He had a little blow but that was to be expected and we’ll do a bit more with him on Tuesday morning to top him off.
“Everything’s gone to plan but I know it’s not going to be easy next Saturday for the horse to snare a second Newmarket,” he said.
Hay List is the only horse to win a Newmarket Handicap (in 2012) with 58.5 kilograms, the same weight that Lankan Rupee has on Saturday, in the past half century.
In 1959 Gold Stakes lumped 60 kilos to win a Newmarket, a point not lost on Price.
“It’s a fair assessment the 58.5, he’s got to beat history to win the Newmarket and let’s hope he can,” Price said.
“Our two main rivals, Terravista and Chautauqua, have beaten him since he won the Newmarket last year, so it makes for an enthralling race.
All the competitors, especially Lankan Rupee and the tree-year-old Brazen Beau, are going to be suited by the tempo of this year’s race.
“He’s relishing being ridden quietly and that’s what we’ll have to do again if we’re to win another Newmarket,” he said.
It will be one of the highlights of the Melbourne Autumn Carnival, this year’s Newmarket with three topline older sprinters pitted against a smart three-year-old.
“And I’ve only highlighted just the four chances, but it’s a Newmarket and it’s a handicap so there will definitely be other chances emerge on the day,” Price said.
And one of the major drawcards next Saturday, Red Cadeaux, will be ridden by leading Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman on Monday morning in his final gallop before the $1 million Australian Cup.
Bowman will try out the brave nine-year-old in a gallop at the Werribee Quarantine Station in readiness for Saturday.
Red Cadeaux, who has finished an amazing three seconds from four tries in the Melbourne Cup, is in Australia for the Australian Cup and then a few assignments at The Championships in Sydney later in the carnival.
A spokesman for the Ed Dunlop stable said the English stayer had thrived since arriving in Melbourne three weeks ago.
“His work has been very good. We haven’t pushed him though, but what he has done is good and it will be interesting to see what sort of a feel he gives Hugh [Bowman] in his next workout,” he said.
The highlight of next Saturday’s meeting at Flemington will be to see if Lankan Rupee can achieve history not only by winning the Newmarket but also by making it two in a row for one of the highest rated sprinters in the world.
And for racegoers it will be an enthralling encounter when the popular international stayer Red Cadeaux attempts to win an Australian Cup after his imposing record in Melbourne Cups.
Dunlop will not be in Melbourne next Saturday for his rising 10-year-old’s first Australian Autumn run, but he has indicated that if the stayer comes through his racing in the next six weeks the horse will return to England for a break and then be flown back to Australia in a bid to win his first Melbourne Cup at his fifth attempt.
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