Warwick Farm trainer Joe Pride admits he is keeping a close eye on both the weather and boom filly Atlantic Jewel ahead of running his exciting sprinter Rain Affair in the 2012 All Aged Stakes at Royal Randwick’s Sydney Cup Day on Saturday.
The $400,000 Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) is one of four elite levels on the Sydney Cup Day program and could be next on the agenda for Mark Kavanagh’s undefeated Thousand Guineas winning filly Atlantic Jewel.
After an injury enforced five and a half months on the sidelines the Fastnet Rock three-year-old resumed in outstanding style putting an easy four lengths on her closest rival in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 14.
Now Kavanagh and connections are considering a start for her in the All Aged Stakes under weight-for-age conditions on Saturday, but Pride has his fingers crossed that won’t be the case.
“It’s one eye on the weather and one eye on Atlantic Jewel,” Pride said.
“I don’t normally worry about other horses but I think she’s worthy of worrying about.”
Pride is out for the Group 1 win with his classy Commands four-year-old Rain Affair who narrowly missed out on the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) victory a fortnight ago when a long neck away second to Master Of Design.
That was just the third time in a consistent 14-start career to date that has netted just over $1 million in prize money where Rain Affair didn’t cross the line first.
The others were his first-up second at Canterbury last February and his disappointing sixth behind Hay List in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) earlier this autumn.
Pride has engaged the services of Christian Reith to ride Rain Affair in the All Aged Stakes on Saturday.
Reith has ridden the horse, whose regular rider Corey Brown is on suspension, just once for a three length win at Canterbury in May last year.
“I wouldn’t say I made a commitment to him then but he’s done nothing wrong in the interim,” Pride said of giving Reith the ride.
“He’s ridden a lot for the stable. I had a lot of offers for people to ride the horse but I’m a loyal sort of guy and I’ll leave Christian on.”
There is a chance that Atlantic Jewel will skip the All Aged Stakes in favour of taking on her own sex in the $175,000 Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1600m) at the same meeting.
With the likely favourable soft track on Saturday Pride is leaning towards running Rain Affair Atlantic Jewel or no Atlantic Jewel ahead of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, but not if they don’t get the right conditions.
“I’m happy with him and would love the opportunity to run him on a bit wetter track on Saturday because I’ve still got the opportunity to take him to Brisbane,” Pride said.
“I think another run on a hard track might nearly see him out.
“I’d love the opportunity to run him on a wetter track and if I don’t get that it could actually sway me not to run him.”
Nominations for all the Sydney Cup Day features are due out shortly so stay tuned.
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