Trainer Joseph Pride is confident that Rain Affair can bounce back to his best form when he contests the 2014 Canterbury Stakes at Royal Randwick this weekend.
Rain Affair resumed in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on February 8 and produced the worst run of his racing career; failing badly in the final stages of the race to finish at the tail of the field.
Pride told Racing Ahead this morning that Rain Affair was slow to recover following his poor Expressway Stakes showing, but believes that the Commands gelding is back on track for the Canterbury Stakes after recording a dominant 11 lengths win in a barrier trial over 804 metres at Warwick Farm on February 28.
“He is really well and I’m pleased with him,” Pride said.
“I wasn’t pleased with him after he pulled up the other day, he was slow to recover and had a bit of a tough few days, but he has certainly bounced back from that now and his trial indicates that he is back to his best.
“His work subsequent has been very good.”
The Expressway Stakes was the first time that Rain Affair has failed to beat home a single runner in his 26 race starts and he was vetted after the race, but no abnormalities were found.
Pride said he is unsure exactly what cause the poor performance, but is adamant that there was something not right with Rain Affair leading up to the Group 2 event.
“I’m really not sure; all I know that the day of the race he did not seem himself,” Pride said when asked to explain the failure.
“When he got to the races he just seemed very quiet and he paraded very quiet.
“I was hoping that there wasn’t much in it, but the way that he ran suggested that there was.
“I’m not sure exactly what it was, there was nothing in his blood, but he definitely wasn’t himself and the run was well below par for him.
“I think he is back on track now.”
Rain Affair will be contesting the Canterbury Stakes for the second year in a row, after finishing fourth behind Pierro, More Joyous and Solzhenitsyn in last year’s race, and will need to be at his very best to be competitive against a strong field that includes Zoustar, Appearance, Not Listenin’tome and Red Tracer.