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Winterbottom an option for Lankan Rupee

Race fans in Western Australia may get the chance to see Lankan Rupee in action with the Group One Winterbottom Stakes under consideration for the former Australian Racehorse of the Year.

Lankan Rupee makes his return from an injury lay-off in Saturday’s Group Two Caulfield Sprint on the way to the Group One Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington three weeks later.

“I’ve spoken to (Lankan Rupee’s owner) Mr Yaseen and there’s some chance we might go to the Winterbottom this year,” trainer Mick Price said.

Nominations for the $1 million Winterbottom (1200m) at Ascot on November 26 were released on Monday with Lankan Rupee one of 10 Group One winners in the 57 entries which include Buffering, winner of the race twice in the past three years.

Lankan Rupee hasn’t raced since the Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield a year ago.

He was found to have a hock issue which needed arthroscopic surgery followed by a thorough rehabilitation program.

“His rehab has been fantastic,” Price said.

“I know him pretty well and he’s pretty happy with himself.”

While Price is realistic about expectations for Lankan Rupee who carries 61kg on Saturday, he isn’t discounting the multiple Group One winner’s chances.

Regular jockey Craig Newitt is excited to have the seven-year-old, who has won more than $4 million prize money, back at the races.

“It’s going to be a big ask with 61 kilos against horses down in the weights that are rock-hard fit but hopefully class will take him a long way,” Newitt said.

“He just needs to go to the races and get it out of his system. He’s a handful to ride at the moment. He’s just bouncing out of his skin.

“Whatever he does he’ll improve on going into the Darley Classic but I would still think he’ll be highly competitive on Saturday.”

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