While most of Sydney’s top trainers are out of town inspecting yearlings for the major sales, Joe Pride is ensconced at his Warwick Farm stables.
And he doesn’t mind a bit.
Pride buys young horses sparingly.
He is happy to have them in the stable, but the challenge of reinvigorating older horses appeals just as much.
“It’s still part of what we have to do but it’s probably not as big for me as it is for some of the other trainers,” Pride said of yearling inspections.
“I’m pretty happy with our system, it works pretty well for me.”
All four horses Pride is taking to Rosehill on Saturday were at least three when they arrived at his yard, most having done their early racing for another stable.
I Am Zelady began her career with disqualified trainer Sam Kavanagh.
She managed two minor placings for Pride last campaign but the trainer felt the mare wasn’t right and cut short her preparation.
He has been much happier with her this time around.
A last-start winner, I Am Zelady contests the Cellarbrations Handicap in preference to a Magic Millions race at Wyong two days earlier.
“I want to get her benchmark up, I want to get her qualified for the Gold Coast and I thought this is the pathway there,” Pride said.
Paceman found his way to Pride after three runs for the Peter and Paul Snowden yard, two of them in Sydney autumn carnival stakes races.
He was gelded prior to his stable debut and Pride has no doubt the procedure has benefited the horse.
“I didn’t know him as a colt but I’m sure it’s made a massive difference to him,” Pride said.
“He’s quite a headstrong horse. I’ve noticed some really good changes in him progressing from his trial to his first run to his second run. He just keeps getting better and better and I think he’s very much on an upward spiral.”
Paceman scored a confidence-boosting win at Canterbury earlier this month and drops from 58.5kg to 53kg in Saturday’s McGrath Estate Agents Handicap.
“Under the new benchmark system, to get one in at 53 who’s going to be a live chance is a real advantage to him,” Pride said.
Ammirata and Open Book round out the Rosehill team.