Joe Pride’s consistent Group 1 performer Rain Affair is ready to kick off their new season campaign in Sydney this Saturday in the 2013 Missile Stakes following an ace Randwick trial last Friday.
The Commands six-year-old was an easy nine and a half length winner in an 800m hitout at Royal Randwick before the weekend and returns to the track this time under race conditions on the weekend.
Rain Affair is one of the top entries for this year’s $125,000 Group 3 Missile Stakes (1200m), getting Group racing underway for the upcoming Sydney Spring Racing Carnival, which they won as the odds-on favourite two years ago.
And there’s a host of Group 1 winners entered for the race too including veteran galloper Hay List who’s still a maybe, the autumn’s Oakleigh Plate winning mare Mrs Onassis and the Darren Smith-trained Atomic Force.
After some awesome autumn runs including their second to All Too Hard in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1200m) on Sydney Cup Day, Rain Affair was most recently seen running in Brisbane.
There they had two runs starting with a distant second when beaten five lengths in the mud by Your Song in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m).
Their last run was then a disappointing 14th to Epaulette when beating home just one other runner in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 25.
Having run so well in their trial last week however Pride is confident the gelding will be back to their best in the Missile following talks about him being Sydney’s fastest thoroughbred.
“I actually think that’s a fair assessment, and I don’t think he’s ever trialled better than he did the other day,” Pride told The Daily Telegraph.
For their sizzling trial Rain Affair was ridden by Christian Reith.
Reith however won’t be aboard for the Missile Stakes as he’s already committed to ride Paul Messara’s recent Civic Stakes winner Mic Mac who comes back to WFA.
Instead Rain Affair will be bolstered by the services of Nash Rawiller, in Darwin today for the Darwin Cup ride on David Hayes’ veteran galloper Extra Zero.
He will need all the advantages he can get too as Rain Affair is out to break a 16-month drought, their most recent turf triumph being in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1100m) in March last year.
“I was extremely aggressive placing him last campaign, he’s now run second in four Group 1s in his career, and this race on Saturday is a step backwards,” Pride said.
“He needs a win big time.
“I don’t think this horse is ever going to give up on me, but a win would be nice for him and the connections, just to remind the camp he’s still got it there.
“He’s an aggressive horse as we all know, but he also looks comfortable (on the track).
“He’s back to Randwick on Saturday, and it’s been well documented what order that track is in, which is perfect for us. Having Nash is also a bonus.”
Stay tuned to Races.com.au to view the official Missile Stakes field and barriers once released on Wednesday.
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