Trainer Joseph Pride believes that speedy gelding Rain Affair will improve on his dominant effort in the Group 3 Missile Stakes (1200m) when he takes part in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) on Saturday.
Rain Affair went straight to the lead in the Missile Stakes at Randwick a fortnight ago and ran right away from the rest of the field in the final stages of the race to record an impressive six length victory from Mic Mac and stablemate Title.
A repeat of that performance would likely be enough to win the Warwick Stakes but Pride is confident that Rain Affair will be even better on Saturday.
“A few people have told me that they thought it was close to his best,” Pride told Radio Sports National.
“The most encouraging out of that is that he never peaks first-up so it’s a nice thought to think he is going to improve as he gets through his preparation.
“He has come through it well and I’m expecting him to improve on his first-up performance.”
Rain Affair will face a number of horses that are beginning their 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaigns in the Warwick Stakes, with eleven of the fourteen runners in the field tackling the race first-up, which Pride considers a major advantage for the son of Commands.
“It will be interesting to see how they play it, the jocks, but I imagine that they all just want to have a nice hit-out on Saturday and they don’t really need Rain Affair there running them along at a really quick tempo,” Pride said.
“It is hard to imagine that anybody wants the dubious honor of having to cart the field up to him.
“We are not going to change his pattern to suit anybody else that is for sure, he will go out there with his normal tactics on Saturday.”
Although Rain Affair has only won one of his three starts at 1400 metres he has generally performed at his best over the longer distance.
He defeated a strong field to win the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens last year and finished second behind equine superstars Atlantic Jewel and All Too Hard in the past two editions of the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m).
Pride has not decided what will be the next race start for Rain Affair but is considering stepping him up to the mile for the first time in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick next month, if he runs well on Saturday, while a trip to Melbourne for the Group 1 Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 29 and the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 are both on the agenda.
Rain Affair has been placed at Group 1 level on four occasions but is still searching for his first victory at the highest level of racing.