SOFT Falling Rain was dealt his first defeat in Saturday’s Gr 2 Hungerford Stakes over 1400m at Newbury, beaten a length-and-a-half by Gregorian, but Mike de Kock said afterwards that the stable was delighted with the run.
Soft Falling Rain disputed the early lead and travelled well until he came under pressure with 300m to run, but he stayed on well late to run into second.
Soft Falling Rain (middle), stayed on well behind Gregorian. (racingpost.co.uk)
Mike commented: “He naturally needed the run after a 140-day lay-off and I think he ran a super race, he will improve a good bit with this run behind him. Gregorian is a good horse, he was beaten under two lengths in the Gr1 Queen Anne at Ascot and then had excuses when beaten in the Sussex Stakes.
“Soft Falling Rain is beginning to look more and more like a miler. This run proved to us that he is up to Gr1 level in the UK and it’s great for South African racing and breeding. We’ll discuss his next run with Sheikh Hamdan and Angus Gold. If all goes well he will run again in the UK this season.”
Paul Hanagan, rider of Soft Falling Rain, added: “I couldn’t blame the ground, he was beaten by a very good horse. I think he’ll be better with a bend. He’ll come on for this race.”
No shame whatsoever in Soft Falling Rain’s loss in the G2 Hungford Stakes. If anything Mr. De Kock, I would think you should be delighted with the run considering it was his first start for 5 months and first time racing on turf again since his 2yo season in South Africa. Plus, you had Gregorian that came into the race having finished 2nd in the Spring Trophy Stakes at Haydock, he’d won the G3 Diomed Stakes at Epsom, 3rd in the G1 Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot, and 5th in the G1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood this season, and Soft Falling Rain was only 1-1/2 lengths behind him. The 2 horses behind him in 3rd and 4th had both just finished 2nd in the G3 Thoroughbred Stakes and G2 Lennox Stakes respectively. Onwards and upwards for this colt. He’ll only improve for this run in his next start, IMO.