IN breaking news, home-bred international Group winner Soft Falling Rain has been secured for stud by Mary Slack’s Wilgerbosdrift Farm. The lightly-raced five-year-old will be returning to South Africa shortly to take up stallion duties.
Mike de Kock said on Thursday that Soft Falling Rain will be syndicated and that his original owner, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai, will be retaining a share following a deal brokered by Jehan Malherbe of Form Bloodstock.
Mike commented: “This is a coup for the South African breeding industry. Soft Falling Rain was a world class sprinter-miler and will bring a valuable pedigree, remarkable versatility and true international quality to our community of breeders.
“Soft Falling Rain has been doing plenty of travelling which is not ideal for a horse of this calibre competing at the highest level. It takes its toll. This is the right time to have retired him. That Sheikh Hamdan has kept a share is most encouraging. He will support Soft Falling Rain with some of his top broodmares. Wilgerbosdrift, too, has a terrific broodmare band..”
Soft Falling Rain was bred at Highlands Farm. He is by National Assembly from Gardener’s Delight (Giant’s Causeway) and was a R350,000 yearling at the inaugural Cape Yearling Sale in 2011, purchased for Sheikh Hamdan by Angus Gold and Form Bloodstock.
Soft Falling Rain was successful on three continents. He won seven of 13 starts – on turf and all-weather tracks – and was placed twice for career earnings of approximately ZAR13-million. As a two-year-old, he won the Gr1 2012 SA Nursery over 1200m at Turffontein by four lengths. Exported to Dubai, his three-year-old career produced wins in the 2013 Gr 3 UAE 2000 Guineas and the Gr2 Godolphin Mile, both over 1600m.
As an early four-year-old, Soft Falling Rain proved a class above his opposition in the Gr2 Nayef Joel Stakes, beating Montridge by 3.75-lengths over the Newmarket Mile. He returned to Dubai to defend the Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup Day in March 2014 and finished a gallant second to his supremely accomplished stablemate Variety Club.
Soft Falling Rain was shipped back to the UK to contest what would be his final race, the Gr1 Queen Anne Stakes over 1600m at Royal Ascot last June. Despite an interrupted preparation, he gave a good account of himself finishing only 4 lengths off Toronado, just running out of steam late in the race.
Soft Falling Rain had a highest career rating of *122 following his Gr2 win in the UK. He goes to stud with a final rating of *120. – (For this article, the Racing Post’s Official Ratings (OR), consulted – Ed.)
Photos by Andrew Watkins.
*A Note from Karel Miedema, Editor of Sporting Post:
He (Soft Falling Rain) had a highest career rating of 129, not 122, according to the Timeform Annual – their essay on SFR is here:http://www.sportingpost.co.za/…/timeform-racehorses-of…/