Fifth Group 1 victory for Lankan Rupee

The most eloquent verdicts on Lankan Rupee’s magnificent VRC Lightning S. G1 victory at Flemington on Saturday were delivered by the jockeys who rode his nearest challengers, Coolmore Stud S. G1 winner Brazen Beau and the previously unbeaten Deep Field.

Craig Williams, who rode Brazen Beau into second place, said, “Excellent. That level of performance would see him winning at Royal Ascot – provided the winner isn’t there!”

Third-placed Deep Field’s jockey James Winks said, “I was very happy in the run, he worked with me and quickened when I asked him, but the next thing Lankan Rupee went past me as if I was standing still.”

While the final time of 56.29 for the 1000 metres was 0.87 shy of Black Caviar’s 2013 race and course record, Lankan Rupee’s performance was no less dominant than the great mare’s win two years ago. His winning margin was almost 3 lengths and he posted a sub-32 second sectional for the last 600 metres.

Jockey Craig Newitt’s summary was succinct. “Outstanding. That was as good as he’s gone for me, when I went for him he was electric.”

Trainer Mick Price and his team have added a new dimension to Lankan Rupee’s racing style after his Spring campaign by encouraging him to relax behind the speed and produce his top speed only in the final stages of the race. The result was the 5YO gelding’s fifth Group 1 victory in 21 starts for owner-breeder Muzaffar Yaseen’s Teeley Assets, and the first Lightning Stakes winner for his sire Redoute’s Choice. 

Lankan Rupee was born and raised at Arrowfield where his dam Estelle Collection (by Stravinsky) was based until her $1.4 million sale to Coolmore at last year’s Teeley Dispersal. She has since foaled a full brother to the champion sprinter.

The $300,000 winner’s cheque boosted Lankan Rupee’s career prizemoney to $3.9 million and takes Redoute’s Choice’s season earnings in Australia to $5.5 million. That puts the three-time champion sire well within striking distance of the top spot on the current General Sires’ table. 

Lankan Rupee’s next opportunity to contribute to that particular battle will come in the $1 million VRC Newmarket Handicap G1 on 14 March.

Manhattan Rain colt wins Moonee Valley Vase

Manhattan Rain has four talented 3YOs knocking on the door of Melbourne Spring Carnival success and the door opened on Saturday for Arrowfield graduate Moonovermanhattan who scored a convincing victory in Saturday’s $200,000 MVRC Moonee Valley Vase 2040m G2.

Fresh from a stunning Group 1 victory on Friday evening with champion sprinter Lankan Rupee, trainer Mick Price and jockey Craig Newitt combined again to produce Moonovermanhattan, already a Group 3 winner at two and second in the MVRC Bill Stutt S. G2 on 26 September.

Newitt sent the powerfully built grey colt forward from Gate 11 and he settled beautifully in second spot, behind Zululand. He swept to the lead around the turn and galloped home strongly to win by 1.75 lengths from Atmosphere and Go Indy Go.

It was a performance that confirmed Moonovermanhattan’s readiness for next Saturday’s $1.5 million VRC Victoria Derby G1 over Flemington’s testing 2500-metre course.

Mick Price said after the race, “He’s a good looking horse. He stands over a bit of ground. He’s a big clean-winded colt with a lovely temperament. He’s very sound and he’s had a good two weeks.

“I think this is the race that is usually a good form race for the Victoria Derby. I know they’ve got the Caulfield Classic there now, but I’m just really looking forward to it (the Derby).

“We know he’ll relax, and if I can put him into a Derby with cover, get him behind a horse and put him to sleep, he’s got a lot going for him, but he just needs to get the 2500 (metres of the Derby).”

Moonovermanhattan was bred by Arrowfield, John Leaver & Alan Jones out of Lunaspur, a 2YO stakes-winning daughter of Flying Spur and Lunaliona, from Jean-Luc Lagadere’s famous family of Group 1 winner Luna Wells, Champion French 2YO Long Mick and their half-brother, Champion French Sire Linamix. 

Moonovermanhattan was a $100,000 purchase from Arrowfield 2013 Inglis Easter Sale draft by Irish bloodstock agent Dermot Farrington for owners Peter Anastasiou, Ken Biddick and Craig Mathieson.

Lunaspur is also the dam of Group 2 winner Colorado Claire, stakes-placed 2YO Moonlight Hussey and a yearling colt by More Than Ready. She delivered a Charge Forward colt the day before the Moonee Valley Vase and is booked to Arrowfield’s new sire, six-time Group 1 winner Dundeel.

Manhattan Rain will be represented in the VRC Oaks G1 by Arrowfield graduate Crafty, also a 2YO stakeswinner, and placed this season in both the VRC Edward Manifold S. G2 and MRC Caulfield Classic G3 for trainer Robert Smerdon.

Moonovermanhattan’s stablemate Manhattan Avenue has also stepped up this Spring to post two game second placings in Listed company at Flemington and Caulfield.

The Ciaron Maher-trained Light Up Manhattan is also Derby-bound, following solid fourth-place finishes in the VRC UCI Super Impose S. LR and the Caulfield Classic G3.

Current TAB fixed odds betting for the Victoria Derby has Spring Champion S. G1 winner Hampton Court (by Redoute’s Choice) as the $3.10 favourite, with Moonovermanhattan at $6, Bachman (by All American) at $9 and Light Up Manhattan at $17.

Crafty holds favouritism for the VRC Oaks at $3.50, ahead of Lumosty ($3) and Go Indy Go ($3.50).

Manhattan Rain, sire of 12 winners and five stakes performers from his first crop, is second on the Australian Second Season Sires’ list with prizemoney of close to $600,000.

Lankan Rupee magnificent in dramatic Manikato win

Lankan Rupee refreshed his world champion title in no uncertain terms on Friday evening with a breath-taking display of powerhouse pace to win the $1 million MVRC Manikato S. 1200m G1.

It is the fourth Group 1 success for Teeley Assets’ home-bred son of champion sire Redoute’s Choice, and easily the most dramatic as Lankan Rupee held off a rolling tide of Australia’s best sprinting talent by a short head, a nose and four short half-heads. In fact, only 0.04 second separated the first seven horses.

Lankan Rupee then had to survive protests by the runner-up Angelic Light and third placegetter Famous Seamus, whose jockeys alleged interference 100 metres after the start. The protest was dismissed by the stewards after about 45 minutes of questioning and deliberation.

The 5YO gelding’s jockey Craig Newitt said, “He’s just a rocket this horse out of the machine. He got the bit between his teeth and I sent him to the front. He was there to be run down but his class shone through.”

The efforts behind Lankan Rupee measured the class of his performance. The riders of Angelic Light, Famous Seamus, Rebel Dane, Terravista, Temple of Boom and Buffering all expressed admiration for their courageous finishes, covered as they were by a very small blanket.

 Lankan Rupee now ranks only behind Miss Finland (five Group 1 victories) among the 25 Group 1 winners by Redoute’s Choice, also represented this Spring by Hampton Court (ATC Spring Champion S. G1), Scissor Kick (ATC Up and Coming S. G3), Panzer Division (ATC Ming Dynasty H. G3) and Perth stakeswinner Rock Magic. Scissor Kick, runner-up in last month’s Golden Rose, confirmed a start in next Saturday’s VRC Coolmore Stud S. G1 with a sparkling jumpout at Flemington on Friday morning.

The second foal of Group 3 winner Estelle Collection (by Stravinsky), Lankan Rupee was foaled and reared at Arrowfield for Muzaffar Yaseen’s Teeley Assets. Trained by Mick Price to win ten of his 19 starts and $2.9 million, he now aims to extend his Group 1 record in the $1 million VRC Darley Classic at Flemington on 8 November.

Estelle Collection has an unraced 3YO filly by Redoute’s Choice, named Timeless Choice; a yearling filly by Manhattan Rain; and foaled a full brother to Lankan Rupee for Coolmore earlier this month.

Lankan Rupee’s year-older sister Charming Estelle has three colts by Manhattan Rain, the latest born at Arrowfield on 28 September.