THERE are questions to be answered at Thursday night’s second Carnival meeting at Meydan in Dubai – and most of them pertain to highly regarded three-year-old Soft Falling Rain (Paul Hanagan up, photo), who makes his desert debut in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial over 1400m on the All Weather track.
Unbeaten in four South Affrican starts, including the Gr1 SA Nursery, Sheikh Hamdan’s colt already has a firm following and his international pipe-opener is eagerly awaited.
Mike de Kock commented on Thursday morning after track work at the course: “There are more questions than answers about Soft Falling Rain. Will he go on the surface? Will he perform over 1400m and will he be able to give weight and a beating to his rivals?”
Under 62kg this will be no easy task and Mike added: “Soft Falling Rain is looking really well and on pedigree he should see it out, but only the race will show.”
The stable’s second Guineas Trial runner, El Estruendoso (Christophe Soumillon), a 1400m winner on his SA debut, should go on the surface and Mike said: “If he repeats his work at home he will be a big runner tonight.”
Zahee (Johnny Gerroudis) completes a three-pronged challenge in this race. A three-time winner from five outings, he was shipped to Dubai from Australia to race for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and is likely to need the run.
Geroudis also rides six-year-old grey Jardim in Race 1 over 1600m. He is being prepared for the Jebel Ali Mile and Mike said he’d be better off for this run, after a lay-off.
Anaerobio stayed on well to take third in a 1400m race last week. He’s in a 2000m race on turf tonight and Pat Cosgrave retains the ride. “He won over this distance earlier in his career, but what you see is what you get. He hasn’t won for a long time and needs to get lucky,” Mike said.
Final Button (Race 4, 1220m, turf, Cosgrave), flopped last week when more was expected and Mike said: “We’re trying 1200m with him tonight, it’s too short for him but we’re hoping it will bring him to a peak.”