Will Rain Affair hold on or will Boban catch him on the line? That is the question racegoers will get the answer for when the pair clash in the Group 2 $200,000 SCSI Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Randwick today.
Noted front runner Rain Affair is primed to run a mighty race with everyone excited to see the six year old flying along out in front but when the 200m pole looms up, most eyes will be focused on the backmarker Boban who will be coming late with huge bounds.
But Warwick Farm trainer Joe Pride will only be concentrating on Rain Affair who he says can get away with the race if he can get a mid-race breather.
“It is not really about what the others do in the race, to me it is all about Rain Affair,” Pride told The Daily Telegraph.
“I think in this circumstance it is about Rain Affair running his race.
“He is going to lead, everyone knows that as that is what he does. If he relaxes within himself early and leaves some ‘petrol in the tank’, he will give himself a chance.
“If he can switch off, that is not going slowly but having an easy time in the first 600m then he will be hard to run down.”
Rain Affair hasn’t raced since finishing sixth to Riva De Lago in the Group 2 $200,000 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on September 14 and Pride has given the tough sprinter two barrier trials to get him ready for his first up assignment.
Rain Affair has almost a fifty per cent winning record with twelve wins from twenty-five starts and has amassed over $1.4m in prizemoney but is yet to win at Group 1 level, something that Pride wants to remedy this campaign.
The Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) on April 12 and the Group 1 $400,000 All Aged Stakes (1400m) two weeks later both at Randwick are the main Sydney Autumn Carnival targets for Rain Affair.
And Pride could plan a trip to Melbourne for the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 8 if there was the prospect of a rain affected track.
“His campaign is aimed at the TJ Smith Stakes and the All Aged,” Pride said.
“But I haven’t ruled out the Newmarket Handicap if they happen to get some rain in Melbourne.”
The Chris Waller trained Boban established himself as the best ‘miler’ in the country with a sensational Spring Carnival with five wins from five starts.
Boban went from winning a 1300m BenchMark 90 at Rosehill in late August to sensationally winning the Group 1 $500,000 The Star Epsom (1600m) at Randwick in October and the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
The Bernardini four year old is certain to settle near the tail of the field as is his usual trend and will be running on hard at the finish.
Boban is currently the $2.40 favourite for the Expressway Stakes with Rain Affair at the good odds of $5 with Melbourne sprinter Speediness marked at $6.