Trainer Joe Pride is left with Rain Affair as his flag bearer after the stable decided to retire Group 1 winning mare Scared Choice.
Doncaster Mile winner Sacred Choice has failed to race up to her top level and connections agreed that she has run her final race after finishing last of eight in the Group 1 $350,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on Saturday beaten almost eighteen lengths.
“She has said to us ‘no more’,” Pride said.
“It’s been a fantastic ride winning two Group Ones with her but to race at this level for as long as she has means she has to be on top of her game all the time.”
“Looking at it, that hasn’t been the case for two preparations now.”
“When I first got her I thought she might get to Listed level so to win a Myer Classic and a Doncaster Mile puts her right up there.”
As well as winning the 2011 Group 1 $2m Doncaster Mile at Randwick, the Choisir mare also took out the Group 1 $500,000 Myer Classic at Flemington in 2010 and was also runner up in the same race last year.
The young trainer said that Sacred Choice’s Doncaster Mile was a highlight of her career in which she was able to amass over $2m in prizemoney for nine wins from thirty-nine starts.
Rain Affair has returned to Sydney after finishing sixth to Hay List in the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on the weekend and Pride will know later in the week what direction he will take with the four year old.
The Commands gelding never looked comfortable at any stage when he led up the Newmarket field down the Flemington straight and Pride was satisfied with the results.
“I thought he was very brave to finish where he did because he was never comfortable at any stage of the race,” Pride said.
“I will put a rider on him again on Wednesday but at this stage he seems to have pulled up well.”
The Group 2 $175,000 Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on March 31 is on the agenda if the Rain Affair pleases Pride in the next week and another crack at Group 1 level in the $1m Darley T J Smith (1200m) at Randwick on April 14 when a rematch with Newmarket winner Hay List is on the cards.
Pride’s other top sprinter Neeson was sent out favourite in the Group 3 $125,000 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) at Warwick Farm on Saturday but tailed off to finish a long last to Ofcourseican and will have to barrier trial and undergo an ECG before being allowed to start again.