“THIS is the birthday present I wanted!” said an overjoyed Mike de Kock after Soft Falling Rain had won Thursday night’s Gr3 UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan in Dubai. Stablemate Zahee finished third.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and brother His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum were on course to witness Sheikh Hamdan’s three-year-old earn a record fifth win in this race for South Africa’s globetrotting trainer.
Soft Falling Rain, winner of the 1400m trial three weeks ago, coped admirably well with the extra 200m here under the owner’s main jockey Paul Hanagan recording a first UAE 2000 Guineas win for his owner.
The victorious Soft Falling Rain (Paul Hanagan). (Photos by Andrew Watkins).
Champion Juvenile in 2012 South Africa, Soft Falling Rain has now won all six career starts.
“He is a really nice horse and we will have to decide where he runs next,” said Sheikh Hamdan. “This 1600m really seems to suit him on this surface and we could stick to this trip. The UAE Derby is possible but he has a lot of speed.
“Wherever he runs here next we are keen to take him to England and Royal Ascot would be a possibility for him.”
Mike added: “We were a bit concerned about his stamina but he has seen it out well and we will have to think about his next race. The Godolphin Mile is a possibility. A race like the July Cup in the UK could be ideal later, but we’ll play it by ear.”
Anaerobio (2nd), Rerouted (fourth) and Kavanagh (2nd), also earned for the stable on the night.
Mike paid tribute to Sheik Hamdan and described Soft Falling Rain’s win as “great for South African racing!” Read more.
Headline photo: Trophies handed out after the UAE 2000 Guineas.
(Extracts from Emirates Racing Press Release).
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