Barn mates set for Civic Stakes rematch

Two in-form stablemates with strong form on rain-affected ground will carry the hopes of the Joe Pride stable in the $200,000, Listed Civic Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday. Pride has confirmed last-start winner Excelladus and the talented Estadio Mestalla are both being prepared for the feature of the programme.

He is also likely to nominate King Of The Castle , although the trainer is favouring an interstate option for that gelding.

However, he says both Excelladus and Estadio Mestalla have pleased him since their last start performances at Randwick on June 8, the former posting a narrow win in in the heavy 9 conditions while Estadio Mestalla was doing his best work late to finish fourth in the same race.

"Excelledus, he loves the wet. I have been really happy with him," Pride said.

"Estadio Mestalla seems to be working his way up to a distance that will allow him to do his best.

"He got too far back last start.

"It would be good to get a nice gate for him, he will drop in weight, and he'll be hard to beat."

Estadio Mestalla hasn't won on rain-affected ground, but he has finished runner-up in three of his four starts on slow tracks and raced well at his two runs on heavy, including when finishing a closing fourth in the Takeover Target Stakes first-up.

 Excelladus has won half of his 10 appearances on rain-affected conditions.

Both will be searching for their first black-type win, but even with the focus on the winter carnival in Brisbane, Pride knows capturing a stakes race in Sydney won't be easy.

"It's the middle of winter and most of the good horses are in Brisbane, but such is the depth of Sydney racing that I'm sure it will be a good race," he said.

"But it is a nice opportunity for both of mine."

Tyler Schiller partnered Estadio Mestalla last start and will stick with him, while Reece Jones will ride Excelladus, replacing Sam Clipperton who won't to be able to make the horse's expected weight.

Randwick hosts the Civic Stakes programme on Saturday, picture ThoroughbredNEWS