Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Joe Pride’s ultra-consistent sprinter Rain Affair may have flopped first-up a fortnight ago but they return on Saturday out to improve and repay the punters with a win in the 2012 The Shorts at Randwick.
A winner of 11 of their 16 starts to date five-year-old Commands gelding Rain Affair has only finished outside the top three twice.
First was their sixth to Hay List in The Newmarket back in March and the other was last start at Warwick Farm on September 8 when they ran four and a half lengths away fourth to stablemate Tiger Tees as the beaten odds-on favourite in the Group 3 Concord Stakes (1100m).
Pride is willing to forgive Rain Affair, a two time runner-up at Group 1 level during the autumn, for that run and is confident heading second-up into the $200,000 Group 2 The Shorts (1200m) in Sydney this Saturday.
“Clearly he was disappointing first up he ran fourth and you would probably say the worst run of his life,” Pride said this week.
“He’s always a little bit susceptible first up and he wasn’t able to use his best piece of weaponry which is his speed and get away from his opposition so he was a little weak over the concluding stages.
“He definitely felt the run and he was pretty sore for a few days, I took him up to the vet late last week and his improvement in his condition was quite significant.”
It is no easy assignment however with Rain Affair to face 16 rivals in a crack The Shorts 2012 field including last year’s Golden Rose winner Manawanui, and Stradbroke Handicap minor place-getter Happy Zero.
They have drawn favourably though with barrier two, Corey Brown booked for the ride.
Brown has been in the saddle 12 times throughout Rain Affair’s career, most recently for their long neck away second in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick in April.
Under the set weights plus penalties conditions of The Shorts Rain Affair will carry 58kg a one kilo drop back from their Concorde weight that Pride is sure they will benefit from.
“I think it’s ideal assignment for him second up, he’s pretty well weighted with the set weights and penalties most horses should be getting about four or five kilograms off him but won’t get much at all,” Pride said.
“He definitely looks well placed and I’m expecting to see the real Rain Affair turn up.”
It would also work to Rain Affair’s advantage if the predicted showers in Sydney fell in time for Saturday’s meet, the horse undefeated in their six starts on Slow – Heavy tracks including their Group 2 Express Way Stakes success on a Slow (7).
“I would love some of that rain to fall, he’s got an extremely impressive record on wet tracks,” Pride said.
“He’s in fact never been beaten on dead or worse (ground).”
“His only defeats have come on good tracks so I think that is significant and it was significant first up.”
“It was something that probably was overlooked by punters.”
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