Nothing’s Sacred As Pride Prays For More Rain

Sacred Choice

Sacred Choice has a strong record on heavy tracks

Plenty of trainers are lamenting the wet weather which is bashing the east coast at the moment with the line of ‘I’m sure most trainers will be hoping for a fair track on the weekend’ becoming a common occurrence.

When you’re talking about ‘most trainers’ though Joe Pride is one big omission.

He has developed a reputation for producing some of the best wet trackers in the business and as the rain continues to tumble his chances seem to skyrocket.

No horse displays this better than his champion mare Sacred Choice which is gearing up for the Epsom Handicap at Randwick.

She has an overall career record of nine wins from 31 starts however from five attempts on a heavy surface she’s got up three times and finished second once.

It’s a clear advantage she has on her rivals and in the 2011 Doncaster Handicap she proved it once more beating a quality Group 1 field.

An intriguing anomaly on her record though is that form three starts on slow ground she’s yet to even place.

Joe Pride while there is definitely a difference between slow and heavy there’s no doubt any level of rain affected track will be to her liking.

“You do get some horses that don’t like slow, what slow can sometime be is a track that’s had some recent rain and been a bit slippery,” he said.

“She’s had a different excuse for why she was beaten on those days though.”

Sacred Choice has been somewhat disappointing since returning this spring coming last in her previous run in the George Main Stakes, fifth in the Chelmsford Stakes and seventh on a heavy track first up in the Warwick Stakes.

Despite this Pride says he’s pleased where she’s at and says she’ll be a real threat come Saturday.

“Very happy with her, generally when I’m really happy with a horse going into the run and they don’t perform you can just move on,” he said.

He says drawing barrier 17 isn’t a major issue either as a result of the conditions and the circuit itself.

“The Randwick mile is historically one of the fairest tracks and distance in Australia,” he said.

“I don’t think barriers play a big role in these races…I honestly think I wouldn’t like to be inside of five on Saturday.”

Sacred Choice has proven her ability to come from wide before winning the Doncaster this year after jumping from stall 14.

Pride does acknowledge she has one query though, the 56.5kg weight a fair step up from the 52kg she carried to victory in the autumn.

“The only trick with this race is the fact she’s up so much in weight as to what she carried in the Doncaster,” he said.

Also against her are the history books with the mares record in the Epsom among the worst for any event on the calendar.

“Historically it tells you that mares don’t win this race but if they’re ever going to do it I think it might be this year,” Pride said.

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