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Price Not Worried About Lankan Weight
Trainer Mick Price is confident that Lankan Rupee (Redoute's Choice-Estelle Collection, by Stravinsky) can still win Saturday week's Gr1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington, despite being allotted top weight of 58.5kg for the time-honoured $1 million sprint. The 5YO son of Redoute's Choice resumed with a breathtaking 2.75-length win in the Gr1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington two weeks ago, defeating 3YO colt Brazen Beau and the previously undefeated Deep Field. Lankan Rupee will consequently meet fellow star sprinters Terravista and Chautauqua, who finished ahead of him in the Gr1 Darley Classic (1200m) in November, 2kg and 3kg worse off respectively, while Lightning Stakes runner-up Brazen Beau poses a serious threat with a 3.5kg turnaround in the weights. "58.5 (kg) is more or less what I expected on a 50kg minimum and I think he deserves that weight," Price said. "I'm not making excuses saying the weight is going to stop him, it gives the lightweights a chance to tackle him and that's what handicaps are all about." He added, "I think as a Group 1 winner Brazen Beau is very well weighted in the race based on his run in the Lightning, his win in the Coolmore and the fact there's still in improvement left in him." Price said even though Lankan Rupee must concede Chautauqua and Terravista weight for his Darley Classic defeat, he was far from concerned. "I think the difference in managing the sectionals with him might be the difference in winning and losing," he said. "Whilst we may have Chautauqua and Terravista sitting off us, it's a different race to the Darley Classic where we were disadvantaged by Buffering and were left a sitting shot." If Lankan Rupee's demolition of the Lightning field wasn't warning enough for his Newmarket rivals, Price sent a further ominous message when reporting the horse worked brilliantly on the course proper at Caulfield yesterday. "Dale Smith (jockey) said he was humming," Price said. "My regular work rider Lachlan, who rides the horse every day, said 'they're going to need wings (to beat him) boss'."