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.