SOFT Falling Rain is a narrow early favourite for Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over 1600m at Ascot but Mike de Kock is under no illusion at the task his recent Joel Stakes winner faces and also raised doubts about his effectiveness to handle testing ground.
Last year the Qipco-backed £1 million Group 1 was run on soft ground and, having only run when conditions have been good or faster on turf to date, De Kock thinks similar underfoot conditions on Saturday could cause problems.
Soft Falling Rain may be best suited to firm track conditions (Andrew Watkins).
“From what I know about him, I don’t think it would suit him if it got too soft,” he said. “If it gets bottomless I’d probably have to discuss with [owner] Sheikh Hamdan about what we’d do. My gut feeling is that he wouldn’t want it too soft.”
The mile contest is shaping up nicely with perennial rivals Dawn Approach and Toronado on course to clash for a fourth time this season in the mile contest.
Paddy Power make Soft Falling Rain their 9-4 favourite, with Dawn Approach next at 5-2 and Toronado a 4-1 shot.
On the prospect of Soft Falling Rain tackling the top milers from Britain and Ireland, Mike told At The Races: “The QEII will be a massive step up and a really good test. “He came out of Newmarket very well, it is hard to say whether he has improved or not but he seems to be doing very well.” – extracts from Racing Post.