Luke Price is confident a drying run gives Count De Rupee the chance to cause a Missile Stakes overflow against Forbidden Love, whom he says he has ultimate respect for after his fall breakout campaign.
Sydney’s first group race of the season is shaping up to be a shootout between Kembla Grange’s Count De Rupee and two-time Group 1 winner Forbidden Love, who plowed through the mud to win the Canterbury Stakes and George Ryder Stakes earlier this year .
She was then a close fourth in Doncaster when she was sent as a favourite.
But that hasn’t shaken the confidence of Count De Rupee’s co-trainer, who will weigh a plethora of spring options if his Gong winner can secure a second Group 2 victory in 2022.
“The drier the track, the better,” said Price, who trains in partnership with Father Robert. “The wetter the track, the more it will improve [Forbidden Love’s] odds.
“There’s probably not much between them. She was in the Golden Eagle and we beat her pretty convincingly in that race on a good track. She is a very good mare, she has groups 1 on very wet tracks and if they dry out is there a question mark? I do not know.
“But I know my horse is doing very well, and I think he depends on her.”
Sportsbet bought Forbidden Love as a firming favorite at $3 on Thursday. Count De Rupee was on the second betting line with Belluci Babe at $6.