Just a little more than two years ago, he was ranked as the world’s leading sprinter but Lankan Rupeeis now at the mercy of the ballot with the comeback horse at this stage excluded from one of this main spring targets – next month’s $1million Group 1 Memsie Stakes.
A frustrated Mick Price said on Monday he would have to re-evaluate Lankan Rupee’s campaign as he initially planned to run the horse in the Spring Stakes at Morphettville on Saturday. But to make the Memsie field Lankan Rupee must run and indeed win Saturday’s P.B. Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield to overcome the ballot clause.
Racing Victoria’s executive general manager of racing Greg Carpenter said that Lankan Rupee, who impressed after a long injury-enforced break to run second in the Bletchingly Stakes, must win Saturday’s crucial group 2 as he has no form of note over the past two years.
“One of my fears has been (the connections of) Lankan Rupee have stated a fair way out that they would be targeting it but because of the fact that he hasn’t won since the Lightning Stakes of 2015, he is one horse who is extremely vulnerable at the ballot,” Carpenter said.
He explained that, when assessing nominations, form from the past 24 months is only taken into account.
“To ensure form is reasonably relevant and horses are not getting in on prize money earned five years ago, you have to have earned $90,000 in one individual performance over the past two years.”
Price was set to send Lankan Rupee to Morphettville for Saturday’s Group 3 Spring Stakes but said he would now speak to the horse’s owner before making a decision as the first prize for the Spring Stakes is only $76,800 – which is $13,200 short of the qualifying mark.
Lankan Rupee is a five-time Group 1 winner, and has earned $4.1million in prizemoney.
“It’s not onerous, but he (Lankan Rupee) simply has not won a race and has not been placed in a major Group 1 race that delivers him $90,000 in prize money in one performance,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter said his department was fully aware there is a likely traffic jam into the Memsie, which is worth seven figures for the first time this year.
He said that situation has caused him to look at Saturday’s P.B. Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield and consider whether the winner should be ballot-free going to the Memsie over the same course a fortnight later.
“It’s such a great race taking shape this year,” he said. “We’re rarely in a situation where we have a ballot problem in the Memsie but we’d certainly look at whether we have to do something with the Lawrence going forward.”
Carpenter said that on Memsie Stakes Day, there is a 1400m handicap which could cater for quality gallopers who have not made the Memsie ballot.
“There would be an opportunity for us to scale the race differently if there were significant high-class horses balloted. We do want to provide them an option. That is what that race is there for.
“We wouldn’t increase prizemoney but we can certainly look at how we structure the weights in that race.
“It would remain a handicap but we might scale the race as either a listed or a group race.”