Without doubt the standout performer of the 2014 Autumn Carnival, jockey Craig Newitt is confident drawing the outside barrier in this weekend’s Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) will not inhibit the chances of first-up success for the world’s leading sprinter Lankan Rupee.
Registering a perfect four race record in autumn, Lankan Rupee has not been seen at the races since charging home to win the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1400m) with complete ease on April 12th, completing a strong barrier trial at Cranbourne on August 19th.
Understandably thrilled to have retained the ride on the Redoute’s Choice gelding through the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, Newitt partnered the five-year-old in a strong piece of work this week, and told AAP he believes this is the best he has felt to date.
“All his work had been on heavy ground. It was the first time I had been able to get on him on a decent surface and he worked super,” Newitt said of this week’s trial.
“He should be good enough to overcome it,” He said of the wide barrier draw.
“It’s not ideal but at the end of the day we know there’s going to be a stack of speed and they’ll string out.
“He’s just got to find a nice spot, probably in second or third and he’s still be able to very hard to beat.”
Securing an exceptional record of nine wins and three minor places from just 16 competitive starts so far, Lankan Rupee was unable to secure a consistent run of form until being gelded at the conclusion of his 2013 autumn campaign.
Having since claimed seven wins and one minor places over eight starts, the gelding out of Estelle Collection charged home to win the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) by four lengths first-up this year; progressing to standout victories in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) and Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) prior to his T.J. Smith triumph.
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