World champion strikes in Lightning victory

| February 22, 2015

LankanRupeeLightning2015Lankan Rupee left no racegoers in doubt as to who is the world’s best sprinter as he decimated a crack G1 Lightning Stakes field at Flemington. It was the current Horse of The Year’s fifth Group One win at Flemington on Saturday. Followers of @Villagebet on Twitter were never in doubt as their champion powered home to record a stunning victory at the juicy odds of $2.60.

Lankan Rupee was sent to the post a drifting $2.60 second choice with the unbeaten Deep Field a well-backed $2.15 favourite.

Lankan Rupee’s jockey Craig Newitt followed Deep Field before making a challenge at the 300-metre mark and sweeping to a 2-3/4-length win over Brazen Beau ($5) and Deep Field a long neck away in third.

The latter two were a triumph for place betting.

The winner will now head to the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington on March 14 and the TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick on April 4, a double he completed last year.

Trainer Mick Price has always wanted Lankan Rupee ridden behind the speed instead of being on the pace and he praised Newitt for carrying out his instructions to the letter.

“He’s been carving out sectionals mid-race, especially in Group One races and he’s only Lankan Rupee, not Black Caviar,” Price said.

“That’s how I want him ridden. I want the last 400 [metres] to be the best bit.”

Price says he has no way of judging whether Lankan Rupee is a better horse in the autumn than the spring despite the five-year-old winning the Group One Manikato Stakes in October.

“He was pretty right in the spring and I never made any excuses for him,” Price said.

“We had quartercracks which were properly handled and he was sound and fit all the way through.”

Newitt, who made the trip from Singapore for Lightning ride, said Lankan Rupee was never going to lose.

“That’s why he’s the best sprinter in the world,” Newitt said.

“The horses he beat today were no slouches and the further he was going the further he was going to win by.”

Craig Williams said Brazen Beau was brilliant at the 1,000m but was a better galloper at 1,200m.

He is looking forward to a return clash in the Newmarket.

Trainer John Hawkes offered no excuse for Deep Field which had won his first five starts and was having his first Group One test.

“He wasn’t good enough on the day, simple as that. The other horse was too good,” Hawkes said.

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