Pray For Rain, who has raced in the shadow of his Gr1-winning stablemate Tempting Fate, posted an overdue first stakes success when he proved too strong for his rivals in the Marshalls World Of Sport Listed Umngeni Handicap over 1000m at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday.
A Gr1 runner-up as a 2yo to his top stablemate, Pray For Rain has been plagued by bad luck and a virus in Cape Town, which set him back badly on his return to trainer Dennis Drier’s yard at Summerveld.
Jockey Tristan Godden used his good draw to get Pray For Rain (5-1) into the race quickly. He was always travelling beautifully. He swept past the pacemaker Traces in the final stages to win going away in a fast 56,37s. Spydas Corner was 1,90 lengths back in second, with Love Bomb and Keep The Lights On dead-heating for third.
Drier, who has suffered an uncharacteristically lean spell, joked that he had endured a drought that dates ‘back to the rinderpest’, and he thanked his team as well as horse behaviourist Mike Shaw for their work.
“I have had bad runs before but not like this!” added Drier, as he paid tribute to the patience of his Mauritius owners.
Godden, who does not get many opportunities, said: “Sean Veale put my name in the hat for this ride, and I am so grateful. He was travelling very well through the 300m mark, just needed it the last bit, but he won a courageous race. Thanks to Mr Drier and his connections.”
Pray For Rain, a graduate of Avontuur Stud, was a R425 000 purchase from the Cape Premier Yearling Sale. He has won 2 races with 4 places from 8 starts for stakes of R213 125.
He was a second feature winner in two days for deceased sire Soft Falling Rain (National Assembly), and was bred from the Var mare, Kitco.