Rain Affair Returns to Form in 2012 Challenge Stakes

Sydney star Rain Affair returned to form today with a win the 2012 Challenge Stakes at Rosehill Gardens in his first race since running sixth in the Nemarket Handicap at Flemington earlier this month.

It never really looked in doubt for the four-year-old in the Group 2 1100 metre sprint which he took by a length in front of Satin Shoes and Neeson.

Trained by Joseph Pride, Rain Affair got out of the blocks quickly and was pushed hard at the start of the race by New Zealand horse Winter King.

The gelding managed to stay near the front for most of the race before kicking away at the bend and he showed the quality that has seen him win 11 of 13 starts despite slightly slacking off slightly in the last 100 metres.

Trainer Pride said it was nice to get away with victory at a distance that is short of his most ideal.

“Everything looked typical Rain Affair up until about the last hundred,” he said.

“I’ve been a little bit soft on him since he’s come back from Melbourne. He may have been a little bit soft today.

“I think he’s better at 12 to 1400 metres [on] soft tracks.”

The highly successful gelding is being targeted towards the TJ Smith in two weeks time and Pride is confident about his chances, especially if conditions suit

“If he gets a wet track I don’t think they can beat him,” Pride said.

Rain Affair was heavily backed leading into the race and was odds-on $1.90 favourite at bookmaker.com.au.

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2012 Challenge Stakes – Results

Finish No. Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Bar. Weight Starting Price
1 1 RAIN AFFAIR Joseph Pride Corey Brown 3 58.5kg $1.90F
2 7 SATIN SHOES Clarry Conners Blake Shinn 0.3L 5 54kg $31
3 2 NEESON Joseph Pride Michael Rodd 0.4L 2 58.5kg $16
4 3 BEL SPRINTER Jason Warren Ben Melham 0.7L 4 58.5kg $3.70
5 6 ELITE FALLS John O’Shea Jim Cassidy 1.5L 1 54kg $6
6 5 CARDINAL VIRTUE David Payne Nash Rawiller 2.9L 6 58.5kg $61
7 4 WINTER KING (NZ) David Payne Michael Walker 9.9L 7 58.5kg $51