Wednesday, 10 August 2011
: Rain Affair continued his rapid rise through the grades with a hard fought victory in the $125,000 Group 3 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
| Rain Affair|
Photo by Racing and Sports
Since winning a midweek maiden at Warwick Farm in March by six lengths Rain Affair
recorded another four wins by a combined margin of nearly 25 lengths before Saturday's feature sprint.
Stepping up to Group company for the first time during Saturday's Missile Stakes Rain Affair didn't have it all his own way, leading throughout before holding on to win by the barest of margins in the concluding stages over a strong finishing Winter King.
The Joe Pride-trained runner while not recording as convincing victory compared to past runs still achieved a new master rating of 116 in Saturday's Missile Stakes (1200m).
Randwick's 2011 renewal of the Missile Stakes can be considered approximately on par with the five year average of the event.
Notable winners in previous years include Love Conquers All
[2010, 119], Dance Hero
[2005, 120], Spark Of Life
[2004, 123] and Lonhro
Rain Affair's latest performance rated four pounds higher than his previous career best run when winning an Open Handicap (1200m) at Warwick Farm by five lengths on July 23.
Although the winning margin was just a short half head on Saturday, the quality of opposition Rain Affair defeated were easily the toughest rivals the lightly raced four-year-old had faced in eight career starts.
Against Rain Affair in the nine horse field were seven stakes winners including Winter King, Pinwheel
, Centennial Park
and Triple Elegance
First up since the autumn, Winter King
resumed well and in turn further strengthened the form lines around the likes of Hay List and Black Caviar.
The David Payne-trained runner started at the attractive odds of 60-1 despite last season having finished second behind Black Caviar in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m) and also fourth in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) won by Hay List.
A case can be made for their being more improvement left in Rain Affair with Joe Pride and jockey Corey Brown both suggesting the Commands gelding may be requiring a spell.
Lightly raced, Rain Affair has not had a spell since late 2010 with the four-year-old being given brief let ups between runs during 2011.
'I wouldn't be game to take him down for the sprints in Melbourne,' Pride said.
'It has all come a bit too soon for him. I believe this horse will improve a lot, he wasn't at his best today and he still won.'
The next logical step for Rain Affair is a Sydney autumn campaign where he would be aimed at the sprint features.
Of the previous Missile Stakes winners, Lonhro
was arguably the most successful in autumn sprints after he claimed the 2002 Missile Stakes renewal.
The versatile galloper commenced a 2003 autumn campaign with wins in the Expressway Stakes (1200m) and Apollo Stakes (1400m) before the John Hawkes-trained runner recorded three subsequent Group 1 victories [Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m), George Ryder Stakes (1500m) and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m)].
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