‘Different’ Rupee to return in Bletchingly
CRAIG Newitt can’t help but wonder what might have been had former champion sprinter Lankan Rupee not succumbed to career threatening injuries twice in the last two years.
Comeback number three begins for the rising eight-year-old in Group 3 $150,000 Bletchingly Stakes ( 1200m) at Caulfield tomorrow and Newitt said a lot of questions will be answered.
Lankan Rupee, 2013-14 Horse Of The Year, hasn’t raced since a gallant fourth in the Group 1 Darley Classic last spring and has pleased his regular rider in two jump outs.
But, he warns, we’re not dealing with the same old Lankan Rupee.
“He always trials up pretty well, he hasn’t been placed under severe race pressure so we will find out,” he said.
“He’s not as sharp as he used to be. Even in 700m jump outs, when
was flying, he’d go straight to the front and they wouldn’t see where he went.
“Since he’s had a long layoff he seems to have lost a little bit of brilliance that had.
“He’s been beaten
I’ve been very fortunate to get on a number of good sprinters and he’s right up there. – Craig Newitt
in both his jump outs by the same horse but
main thing was his action felt good and he seems bright in himself.”
Newitt has been the regular rider of a number of high class sprinters over the years, including Miss Andretti, Samaready and last year’s Blue Diamond winner Extreme Choice.
But he concedes we’ll never know what Lankan Rupee could have achieved had he been injury free since his dominant TJ Smith Stakes win in 2014.
“I’ve been very fortunate to get on a number of good sprinters and he’s right up there,” he said.
“I think his pain threshhold very high because he’s broke down both times during the race but doesn’t feel sore.
“In the Darley Classic last year he was beaten a length and a bit but just didn’t seem to be at his best it wasn’t until he cooled down they struggled to get him off the float at the stables.”
As for his return in the Bletchingly, Newitt said there’s plenty of improvement to come and would love see him out to 1400m this time in.
“I don’t think that he’s looking for further, but to match it with the elite sprinters you have to be brilliant,” he said.
“I think with the tempo of a seven furlong race they won’t run same sectionals as they would in a sprint.
“I’m thinking he will run well, if can win beautiful, but so long as he pulls up well.”
Newitt had some interesting comments to make about rejuvenated stayer Benall who tackles the Sheen Group Handicap (2400m) at his first run since May 26.
The five-year-old had a rating of 50 when Newitt rode him to a surprise win at Mornington in April and was runnerup in a Benchmark 78 at his latest attempt.
Newitt isn’t concerned about going in fresh and won’t be changing a successful formula.
“He’s a funny horse, before I got on him his form was absolutely woeful,” he said.
“He’d been going around and getting flogged in benchmark 58s. I rode him one day at Mornington and they were going slow so I took off on him he kept going.
“He sits out the back and waits for them to have a breather and as soon as they do he gets going.”
Lankan Rupee stretches out in his Caulfield jumpout