2012 Newmarket Handicap Hope Rain Affair Pride of Farm Trials

Joe Pride’s classy Commands four-year-old Rain Affair was the standout runner at Tuesday morning’s Warwick Farm trials, the Newmarket Handicap 2012 nominated champ blitzing their rivals by an authoritative seven lengths.

Boasting an impressive strike rate of eight wins and a second from nine starts to date, Rain Affair finished their 800m hitout in a smart 46.10 seconds, a full 1.2 seconds faster than the next quickest 800m trial winner of the morning.

“He’s a running machine, isn’t he?” Pride said happily after the trial.

“It was a really good trial.

“The horse on his inside (Just Another) made him work harder than what we probably would have liked to but he (Rain Affair) is a tough horse and he’s a fit horse.

“If he had a trial like that and he hadn’t had a run yet I would have been pretty disappointed, but because he’s had a run back it won’t hurt him.”

Last start Rain Affair resumed after a five month spell with a first-up win in the Listed Carrington Stakes (1100m) at Warwick Farm on January 2, the gelding now a dual stakes winner thanks to their earlier win in the Group 3 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on August 6.

Pride is hoping to unlock Rain Affair’s Group 1 potential this autumn and is looking at two possible elite level targets for them, the $1 million Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 3 and the $1 million TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 14.

Rain Affair will resume racing in the $200,000 Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 11 along with another Warwick Farm trial performer this morning, reigning Doncaster Mile winner Sacred Choice.

“I’m looking forward to taking him to the races next Saturday,” Pride said.

“It looked like he pulled up really well from the trial.

“He’s just naturally athletic and can do things that most other horses can’t.

“He’s got eleven days until the Expressway to get over it (the trial).”

In her first trial of 2012, brilliant Choisir mare Sacred Choice finished two lengths away second behind Guy Walter’s Commands mare Bidden over 800m, narrowly edging out Group 2 winning stablemate Neeson.

Another runner in this morning’s barrier trials that is looking at the 2012 Expressway Stakes for their autumn return is the now Chris Waller-trained Shoot Out.

Shoot Out had their second official trial this morning, the High Chaparral five-year-old finishing just off the top three in an 800m gallop won by Rick Worthington’s Lonhro six-year-old Sainthood in 47.80 seconds after settling off the pace early.

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