IN a major blow and shock for South African breeding, Wilgerbosdrift stallion Soft Falling Rain has died, reports Sporting Post.
Trained by Mike de Kock, 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 2012 Grade 1 SA Nursery over 1200m at Turffontein by four lengths. Exported to Dubai, his three-year-old career produced wins in the 2013 Grade 3 UAE 2000 Guineas and the Grade 2 Godolphin Mile, both over 1600m.
As an early four-year-old, Soft Falling Rain proved a class above his opposition in the Grade 2 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 Group 1 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 Group 2 win in the UK. He goes to stud with a final rating of 120.
Soft Falling Rain was bred at Highlands Farm. He is one of 16 Gr1 winners 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.
The Equus Champion’s first yearlings were exceptionally well received last season.
Mike de Kock commented: “Soft Falling Rain will always hold a special place in our hearts. He was one of the first horses bought for us by Sheikh Hamdan and played a big part in cementing our relationship. If feels like we’ve lost a family friend. Our condolences to those who worked with him at the farm every day.”