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Warwick Stakes timing right as Rain
Mandy Cottell
14:42 AEST Fri Aug 23 2013

The calibre of opposition has cranked up a notch and the track conditions won't be ideal but Joe Pride remains bullish about Rain Affair's Warwick Stakes prospects.

The speedy gelding was a resounding first-up winner of the Missile Stakes (1200m) but the quality of horses in Saturday's Group Two feature is much stronger.

Of the 14 Warwick Stakes runners, seven are Group One winners, albeit the bulk of them over distances longer than the 1400m of Saturday's race.

Rain Affair is arguably unlucky not to be in that category with four seconds at racing's highest level.

He is race-fit and the trip is in his ideal distance range, fuelling Pride's confidence that the Warwick Stakes is the right race for Rain Affair at the right time of the season.

"I'm as confident as I can be to win a Group Two race," Pride said.

"I'd like a soft track which we're not going to get but you can't pick and choose everything.

"We are meeting those horses at the right time which is the main thing."

Bookmakers have taken a similar view with Rain Affair the $1.80 favourite, ahead of the Guy Walter-trained pair of Streama ($6) and Toydini who has been backed from his opening quote of $21 into $9.50.

With Toydini's regular rider Blake Shinn suspended, Peter Robl takes over on the four-year-old who impressed him in a recent trial.

"It's a nice pick-up," Robl said.

"I trialled him last week at Warwick Farm and he gave me a really good feel.

"He will improve from the run being first-up over seven (furlongs) but they will know he's in the race."

Toydini strung together two victories at Group level during the autumn, including a 3-3/4 length decision over subsequent Queensland Derby winner Hawkspur in the Carbine Club Stakes.

Fresh from riding a winning treble at Canterbury on Wednesday, Tommy Berry will partner Glencadam Gold for Gai Waterhouse in the feature.

The winner of the Group One Metropolitan Handicap last spring, Glencadam Gold disappointed at his two autumn runs.

He has done plenty of groundwork for Saturday through a mix of barrier trials and exhibition gallops and Berry has no doubt he will be a spring force.

"He feels the best he's ever felt," Berry said.

"Obviously it's a bit short for him on Saturday. It's a quality field and if he ran home well at the end of it I'd be very happy."


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