THE prospect of bullet-like Sydney sprinter Rain Affair taking on the world's best, Black Caviar, is not likely to take place in Saturday's Futurity Stakes at Caulfield.
Could it happen down the straight six at Flemington on March 10 in the Newmarket Handicap? The toughest sprint on the Australian calendar was won by Black Caviar last year when carrying 58 kilograms. The unbeaten wonder horse has subsequently won six group 1 races, taking her tally to nine in a career spanning 19 starts.
''She'd have to get more than 60kg in the Newmarket and I'd think the handicapper will make it impossible for her to run in it,'' Rain Affair's trainer Joe Pride said yesterday. ''My horse has never run in a group 1 race, how many has she won? On their ratings, there is 10kg between them, take 2kg off for her being a mare and mine should get 8kg off her in the Newmarket.
''I don't want 8kg off her but the handicapper has to do his job, he can't be doing horses a favour.''
Black Caviar won a second straight Lightning Stakes at Caulfield at the weekend and trainer Peter Moody is contemplating running in Saturday's group 1 Futurity.
It would be the third straight Saturday of racing for Black Caviar, which is one win away from an Australasian record 20 straight wins at metropolitan level. Victory there would also better the mark for winning races at the top level set by US champion Zenyatta.
While Black Caviar has been capturing headlines, taking racing to the front page and lead news items on radio and television, Rain Affair has been building an impressive record. Bred and retained by former Sydney Turf Club director Don Storey, Rain Affair has won nine from 10 outings. The only defeat came at Rain Affair's second start when runner-up at Canterbury in February last year.
After setting a Warwick Farm track record winning the Carrington Stakes on January 2, Rain Affair was given a let-up before returning at Rosehill on February 11. The four-year-old son of Commands made a quality field look pedestrian when winning the Expressway Stakes by four lengths under jockey Corey Brown, who has won seven races on the gelding.
''I'll definitely nominate for the Futurity, keep it as a live option,'' Pride said. ''But he is most likely to stick to Sydney this weekend, run in the Apollo Stakes as planned at Rosehill. I looked at the weather forecast in Melbourne, not much rain around, might be some more in Sydney. He is amazing on wet tracks, he doesn't slow down on them like others do.''
The were no surprises for Pride in regard to how Rain Affair recovered after the Expressway. ''He pulled up fantastic and I'm very, very happy with him,'' he said. ''He has progressed again, improved a couple of lengths, he is not at his peak yet … A good chance it might be the Newmarket, a good race to be peaking for.''