Rain Affair Leads 2012 Expressway Stakes Field

Joe Pride’s boom sprinter Rain Affair will shoot for win number nine at just their 10th career start this Saturday when they take on a professional field boasting multiple Group 1 winners in the Expressway Stakes 2012 at Rosehill Gardens.

Sacred Choice

Reigning Doncaster Mile winner Sacred Choice (pictured) joins stablemate Rain Affair in the 2012 Expressway Stakes field on Saturday

A dual stakes winner thanks to their two most recent victories in the Group 3 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick last August and then first-up in the Listed Carrington Stakes (1100m) at Warwick Farm on January 2, Commands four-year-old Rain Affair is one of nine acceptors for the $200,000 Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) this Saturday.

Running as Rosehill Race 9 at 4:50pm (NSW time), the 2012 Expressway Stakes is shaping up as a beauty for the Luxbet punters, but the two notable non-acceptors were Golden Rose winner Manawanui and one-time Golden Slipper fancy Salade.

Manawanui is being saved for the $157,000 Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm Saturday week, presenting a dilemma for jockey Glyn Schofield who will have to choose between the three-year-old ride in Sydney or the mount on resuming sprint star Hay List in the $750,000 Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington in Melbourne on the same day.

With Manawanui out, Rain Affair is now even more likely to open favourite in the Expressway Stakes odds at Luxbet, especially after their favourable barrier four draw.

Rain Affair has jumped the punters’ pick in all nine of their career starts so far, and only once have they not come through for their backers when defeated first-up in February at Canterbury last year.

Having already resumed and won this season, Pride is very confident Rain Affair is the horse to beat in the Expressway this weekend.

“He’s a tough horse and he is in for a big preparation,” Pride said of the horse who enjoyed a seven-length barrier trial win last week.

“I think he has got a bit of a head start on his opposition.

“I wouldn’t want to be tackling a field of this quality first-up so having that run under his belt helps and he’s a horse that improves with racing.”

Pride has penciled in the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 10 as the horse’s major autumn target.

In futures betting for the race, Rain Affair pays $13 at Luxbet and his Newmarket Handicap odds are sure to firm if they win again on Saturday.

Among Rain Affair’s most notable rivals is stablemate Sacred Choice, the fellow Joe Pride-trained champ also drawing well on the rails in gate one.

The six-year-old Choisir mare races for the first time since her game second to Hurtle Myrtle in the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington on Derby Day, the defending Doncaster Mile winner looking to kick-off another strong season.

“She will have a similar campaign to last year heading to the Doncaster,” Pride said.

“She trialled well and is right to go.”

The $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile Handicap (1600m) runs at Randwick on April 4 as one of the highlights of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.

As expected, ace Sydney trainer Chris Waller has accepted for three of his stable stars with returning favourite Rangirangdoo (barrier three), former Queenslander Shoot Out (barrier six) and eight-year-old Danleigh (barrier seven) – all three Group 1 winners.

Also boasting multiple runners this year will be David Payne who has paid up for both his defending Expressway Stakes winner Centennial Park (barrier two) and Winter King (barrier five) who hasn’t won a race since their Listed Starlight Stakes success at Rosehill back in August of 2010.

Rounding out the 2012 Expressway Stakes field are then Tracey Bartley’s multiple Group 1 winning veteran Sniper’s Bullet who has drawn the far outside gate, and the untapped Anthony Cummings-trained three-year-old Strike The Stars also out wide in barrier eight.

View the full Expressway Stakes field, barriers and jockeys below, then get ready to lock in your favourites when betting begins by signing-up with our preferred online bookmaker Luxbet.

Remember to quote the exclusive codeword BONUSBET when you join Luxbet and make your first deposit to have it matched 100% as a bonus bet valued up to an incredible $400!

2012 Expressway Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw

Rosehill Race 9 – 11/02/2012

# Form (Last 10) Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Hcp. Rating
1 X12221X41X RANGIRANGDOO (NZ) Chris Waller Blake Shinn 3 58.5kg 118
2 440X95552X SHOOT OUT Chris Waller Hugh Bowman 6 58.5kg 114
3 1976X6688X DANLEIGH Chris Waller Jim Cassidy 7 58.5kg 110
4 132607X50X CENTENNIAL PARK (NZ) David Payne Nash Rawiller 2 58.5kg 109
5 X2111111X1 RAIN AFFAIR Joseph Pride Corey Brown 4 58.5kg 107
6 X850505X34 SNIPER’S BULLET Tracey Bartley Christian Reith 9 58.5kg 103
7 24X222379X WINTER KING (NZ) David Payne Glyn Schofield 5 58.5kg 102
8 512X75892X SACRED CHOICE Joseph Pride 1 56.5kg 115
9 2752315X STRIKE THE STARS (NZ) Anthony Cummings Nathan Berry 8 55.5kg 88