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A track record win wasn’t enough to placate trainer Joe Pride as top sprinter Rain Affair enhanced his reputation with a first-up victory in the Carrington Stakes.

Pride revealed he wanted to scratch Rain Affair when it became apparent a flint-like racing surface would be presented at Warwick Farm for the holiday Monday meeting.

“He’s going to feel that run,” Pride said after Rain Affair rallied to shake off a determined challenge from bush-trained Jest Crewsin’.

“I felt a lot of pressure to possibly take him out (of the race) this morning but he had to come here for a run.

“Horses don’t want to run on tracks like that … it’s too hard.

“Look at how many horses who have come down the straight today who look like they are running on hot coals.

“No one listens to you when you lose so you may as well have a whinge when you win. That track was too hard today.”

Rain Affair ran 1:02.15 for the 1100 metres on a day when times for most races were well above par on a track rated a good (2).

“He’s won and he’s broken the track record but I don’t know what that means because today they have done that in nearly every race,” Pride said.

Rain Affair, the $1.30 favourite, came off the canvas to beat Jest Crewsin’ ($31) by 1-1/4 lengths with Star Of Octagonal ($26) making a promising return to racing with his 1-1/2 length third.

Pride saw enough to declare Rain Affair on track for autumn riches despite obvious concerns for the gelding’s welfare.

“This horse is destined for good things but I’m going to be very judicious in the way I place him,” the Warwick Farm trainer said.

As is his way, Rain Affair mustered legs to lead after 200 metres and he maintained a strong tempo into the straight.

But it didn’t take long for Jest Crewsin’ to emerge as a serious threat when he levelled up to the favourite at the 250-metre mark.

“I know he was a threes-on pop and entitled to win but look at him halfway up the straight … he was battling,” Pride said.

“I thought he was in all sorts of trouble but he’s a fighter who wants to keep giving.”

Rain Affair has now won eight of his nine starts on all surfaces and Pride says the autumn is “an open plan”.

Declaring the rest of January off limits for the four-year-old, Pride said: “I don’t really want to commit to one thing or another and I’ll be guided by what the horse is doing.

“His best opportunity will come on good to dead surfaces then into the wet tracks. He’s as good as any horse in the country on a wet track.”

AAP TURF

 
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