Rupee sets early benchmark

The world’s equal-highest-rated sprinter, Lankan Rupee, is well placed to reach a new high after his win in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning over 1000m at Flemington.

The Mick Price-trained five-year-old was given an international rating of 123 at the end of 2014, the equal-highest rating for sprinters with Terravista on the World’s Best Racehorse Rankings (WBRR).

Racing Victoria’s Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, was full of praise regarding the performance.

“Very early in 2015 he has got the yellow jacket,” said Carpenter on RSN’s Racing Ahead, referencing Lankan Rupee as the early leader for world-class performances.

“He shared the world’s highest-rated sprinter title with Terravista last year after setting high ratings in the earlier part of the year when winning the Oakleigh Plate, Newmarket Handicap and TJ Smith Stakes.

“He certainly looked as if he had returned to that form again on Saturday.”

Now a five-time Group 1 winner, Lankan Rupee had returned an international rating of 123 on two previous occasions. They were in winning the Newmarket Handicap and TJ Smith Stakes.

“Going into the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes, Lankan Rupee was rated 123 and Brazen Beau was 115,” said Carpenter.

“That is 8 ratings points over 1000m, that’s 2.75 lengths.

“Lankan Rupee won the race by 2.75 lengths from Brazen Beau, Deep Field had been rated 112 when winning the Group 2 Tab.com.au on Derby Day last year and he was a long neck behind Brazen Beau.

“If you put Lankan Rupee at his peak figure of 123 then that would mean that, with a 2.75-length margin, Brazen Beau has run to his Coolmore Stud Stakes rating of 115 and Deep Field has actually run to about 113.

“Those will be the figures that I will submit.”

Carpenter is excited by what Lankan Rupee may achieve this campaign.

“It is going to be very interesting with Lankan Rupee’s next start to be in the Newmarket Handicap and Neil Jennings (Senior Handicapper) will put the weights out next Tuesday.

“He is going to have to be at his very best as he will be giving outstanding sprinters like Terravista and Chautauqua weight in that race but, on what we saw on Saturday, he is going to give that race a big shake.”

International ratings, which are submitted for the WBRR, are a numeric rating for peak performances in a horse’s career, based on individual races.

Lankan Rupee has achieved a rating of 123 on three occasions while Terravista has only achieved that figure once, when winning the Group 1 Darley Sprint Classic in November. These figures differ to the domestic handicap ratings that horses are assessed for weighing purposes in handicap races.

“Domestic handicap ratings certainly take into account the demonstrated ability of a horse,” said Carpenter.

“But they also take in a holistic approach as to how many times a horse has run to those sorts of marks and their overall career performances.

“Lankan Rupee has now won five Group 1s and has run to 123 on three occasions; Terravista has only won one Group 1 race and run to 123 on one occasion.

“There is no doubt that Lankan Rupee will be giving weight to Terravista through the domestic handicap in the Newmarket.”

It is expected that Lankan Rupee will be allocated a weight above the minimum top weight of 58kg for a Group 1 race.

In recent years, Black Caviar carried 58kg to victory in the 2011 Newmarket Handicap, while Hay List set a modern-era record when victorious with 58.5kg the following year. Lankan Rupee carried 56.5kg when successful last year.

In other races, Carpenter assessed the Peter Moody-trained Sweet And Speedy with a rating of 103 for winning the Group 3 The Vanity, inferior to runner up Set Square who rated 107. This rating difference is due to Set Square carrying 2.5kg more.

Similarly, Wandjina was rated 106 for winning the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes while the runner up, Disposition, rated 110. Again, the rating difference was due to Disposition carrying 2.5kg more.

Carpenter was impressed with the performances of the first four in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes at Rosehill. Hallowed Crown was rated 112 for his victory, while Sweynesse, Kermadec and Shooting To Win all achieved a mark of 111.

Headwater achieved a rating of 110 in winning the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes, a very high mark for a two-year-old so early in the season.