Sydney's driest summer for more than 70 years was not something Joe Pride factored in when he planned Rain Affair's upcoming campaign.
The saving grace is that Saturday's Expressway Stakes is being run at Randwick, a surface the trainer says is more forgiving than Rosehill where Rain Affair won the Group Two sprint two years ago.
Although he has won on good tracks, Rain Affair has a distinct advantage on wet ground with seven wins and a second from eight starts on slow or heavy.
"I need to kick him off somewhere and I'm relieved the race is not at Rosehill which is pretty firm at the moment," Pride said.
"Randwick always seems to have a bit of give in it. They are predicting some showers this week so hopefully that happens.
"The horse is ready and needs to get back to racing."
The free-running Rain Affair has been runner-up at Group One level four times and his trainer is understandably keen to go one better.
"His campaign is aimed at the TJ Smith Stakes and the All Aged," Pride said.
"But I haven't ruled out the Newmarket Handicap if they happen to get some rain in Melbourne."
Rain Affair has had two barrier trials to get ready for his first-up assignment, his most recent at Randwick with new race jockey Tim Clark aboard.
There were 13 entries taken on Monday for the Expressway (1200m) including 2011 winner Centennial Park who will be running in the race for the fifth time.
Group One winners Boban and Sizzling are confirmed runners for the Chris Waller stable with Arinosa and Moriarty also in the mix.
Boban on 116 is the highest rated horse in the entries ahead of Appearance (114) and Rain Affair on 110.
Gai Waterhouse has nominated Carlton House, who sports the Queen's colours, for his first start since he was unplaced in his only Australian race in March last year.
The six-year-old had a barrier trial in early January and has recently been seen in two competitive raceday gallops with Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente.
Scone Cup winner Speediness will represent Melbourne trainer Colin Scott while Queensland sprinter River Lad, trained by Natalie McCall, is also in the mix.
Real Surreal, who hasn't raced since winning the 2013 Magic Millions, is scheduled to have her first start for the Hawkes team in either the Expressway or a benchmark race on Saturday's program.