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Sydney trainer Joe Pride will chase Group 1 success with talented sprinter Rain Affair in the $500,000 2012 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in October.
After winning 10 of his first 11 career starts, Rain Affair made his Group 1 debut in the prestigious Newmarket Handicap in March but failed to make an impact when finishing 2 1/2 lengths off the lead in sixth.
The four-year-old gelding had two more attempts at the elite level in the autumn, finishing a narrow runner-up in the TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) before again finishing second to superstar filly Atlantic Jewel in the All Aged Stakes (1400m).
Already a winner of more than $1 million in prize money, Pride said the son of Commands would have a short spring campaign focused on the Manikato on the opening day of the two-day Cox Plate Carnival.
“He might just have three races in the spring with two lead-ups in the Shorts and the Premiere Stakes before the Manikato,” Pride said.
Rain Affair has had just one run in Melbourne, the Newmarket sixth on the Flemington straight, and Pride said he had learnt a lot from his first tilt in the Victorian capital.
The Warwick Farm trainer believes the Moonee Valley track will suit his stable star far better than Flemington, suggesting the front runner did not appreciate the straight.
“I think the surface at Moonee Valley will suit him much better,” he said.
“He is also much better coming off a bend which is another reason not to go to Flemington.”
Pride has a growing reputation of training top quality sprinters, with the likes of Tiger Tees and Neeson also scoring black-type success for the up-and-coming trainer.
Neeson will play no part in the forthcoming spring, with the Mossman five-year-old set to return next autumn following injury.
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