SOFT FALLING RAIN (Paul Hanagan) bounced back to winning ways when landing the Gr 2 Nayef Joel Stakes in phenomenal style for Mike de Kock.
The four-year-old South African-bred son of National Assembly travelled well throughout the mile contest and showed a devastating turn of foot to leave his rivals behind inside the closing stages.
The Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned colt, who relinquished his unbeaten record when beaten by Gregorian in the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury last time out, won comfortably by three and a half lengths from Montiridge as the 13-8 favourite.
“The pace was too fast. That was a fantastic performance in a brutally run race,” commented the race caller at the pull-up.
Mike de Kock said: “We didn’t think there would be a problem with the mile and he’s won that like he’d go further but I think he is best at a mile. We will have a go at the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over the straight mile. That’s why we came here.”
Montiridge, who was ridden by Richard Hughes, travelled superbly throughout the race and looked to pose a challenge when entering the final two furlongs. However, the Richard Hannon-trained three-year-old had no answer to Soft Falling Rain’s turn of foot and had to settle for a distant second.
Mike congratulated Sheikh Hamdan and thanked him for his support.
Soft Falling Rain was purchased at the inaugural Cape Premier Yearling Sale. – extracts from Racing Post article by Tom Park.