Warwick Farm trainer Joe Pride may have ruled out a clash with turf queen Black Caviar for his stable ace Rain Affair during the upcoming Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival, but he still has Group 1 glory on the agenda for the impressive four-year-old with the Newmarket Handicap 2012 a possible target for Monday’s Carrington Stakes winner.
Commands gelding Rain Affair ($1.30F) boosted their imposing career record to eight wins from nine starts for over $410,000 in prize money with a record-breaking one and a quarter length victory over defending champ Jest Crewsin’ ($31) in the $100,000 Listed Tattersalls Carrington Stakes (1100m) at Warwick Farm on Monday.
Setting a new 1100 metre record at their home track, Rain Affair won in a time of 1:02.15, 0.6 seconds faster than the previous record set by Centre Fire that stood for 11 years.
“He’s won and he’s broken the track record but I don’t know what that means because today they have done that in nearly every race,” Pride said referring to the fast track.
A known wet tracker who has been able to put up to six lengths on their rivals when winning on Heavy (10) ground, Rain Affair proved their stakes winning potential on much firmer ground yesterday with Warwick Farm rated a Good (2).
“He is probably the best wet tracker I have had, but he showed he handles it hard today but he will feel that,” Pride said.
“That track was too hard today.”
Still, it was a very promising return for the galloper who returned from a five month break, before which Rain Affair won six straight races including the Group 3 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick back in early August.
Always having had a high opinion of Rain Affair since their win on debut at Canterbury back in October of 2010, Pride is now more confident than ever that the horse could prove to be the best he has ever trained.
With Peter Moody’s undefeated mare Black Caviar expected to race in elite levels including the CF Orr Stakes and Futurity Stakes at Caulfield this coming autumn, Pride will plot a path that bypasses the queen’s targets with Rain Affair.
“I will be judicious where I place him but I think he has Group 1 potential,” Pride said.
“I wouldn’t want to take (on Black Caviar) with him. Why would you do that to him?
“He has got a great record and I would like to protect it.
“I don’t really want to commit to one thing or another (for the autumn) and I’ll be guided by what the horse is doing…but a race like the Newmarket Handicap might suit.
“He won’t run again in January, I’ll give him a let-up now, there are no suitable races for him for the rest of this month.”
The $1 million Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) runs at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday March 10.
The Newmarket Handicap is just one of the great Group 1 showdowns taking place in Victoria during the 2012 Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
Group 1 racing for the New Year kicks off with the $400,000 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 11, with Black Caviar a possible contender.
For all the latest autumn racing entries, fields and betting updates bookmark us here at Races.com.au.
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