JUST five months after his sudden passing, Wilgerbosdrift’s National Assembly sire Soft Falling Rain produced a breathtaking first winner when his daughter Gin Fizz showed a spectacular turn of foot to win on debut at Turffontein on Sunday.
Racing in the familiar Wilgerbosdrift black and scarlet finery, the 2yo was bred by Mauritzfontein and Wilgerbosdrift.
Well backed into odds-on, she was always in control in the 1000m maiden and drew right away to win unextended by 7,40 lengths in a time 58,45 secs.
Mike de Kock trained the winner’s sire and dam and expressed great hope for the Soft Falling Rain progeny.
“He was a top horse and his daughter is talented. She is a bit temperamental though and has been ready for a while. Full marks to whisperer Malan du Toit as she could easily have gone the other way – we were quite nervous but I’m pleased with the effort.”
Jockey Gavin Lerena enjoyed an armchair ride for his sponsors. “She is loaded with ability and gave me a wonderful feel,” he added.
The Highlands Stud bred champion Soft Falling Rain was just nine years old at the time of his passing and had been expected to cover a full book of mares in 2018 when he passed in September last year.
One of 16 Gr1 winners sired by unraced Danzig sire National Assembly, Soft Falling Rain was one of five winners produced by the winning Giant’s Causeway mare Gardener’s Delight.
He hails from the same family as the breed shaping US champion sire Smart Strike, sire of current stallion sensations Curlin, English Channel and Lookin At Lucky.
Soft Falling Rain was never beaten in South Africa, from four starts at two. The bay followed up two smart wins by landing the Listed Storm Bird Stakes before confirming his championship status when victorious in the 2012 Gr1 SA Nursery.
He was named Equus Champion 2YO Colt for 2012-2013.
Exported to Dubai where he was named UAE Champion Miler, Soft Falling Rain reeled off three consecutive wins, with his victories including an historic score in the G2 Godolphin Mile – he was the first 3yo ever to win that prestigious contest. He also won the Gr3 UAE 2000 Guineas and UAE 2000 Guineas Prep.
Soft Falling Rain became one of just a handful of horses to win in three different countries when he smashed some smart rivals to land the Gr2 Nayef Joel Stakes at Newmarket in 2013.
He ended his racing career having won 8 of 13 races and earned over £740 000 in prize money.
Soft Falling Rain retired to Wilgerbosdrift in 2015 and his first yearlings made an impact at yearling sales around South Africa in 2018. He was the Leading First Crop Sire by Aggregate at the 2018 Cape Premier Yearling Sale, where yearlings by the former Premier Sale graduate made up to R1 400 000 and grossed R4 000 000 in total.
He also proved hit at the 2018 Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale, where yearlings by Soft Falling Rain fetched as much as R1 400 000. Soft Falling Rain was the fourth Leading Sire overall, by Aggregate, at the National Sale, where his yearlings grossed a total of R10 295. Million.
The winner is a first foal for the well-performed Espumanti who raced for De Kock and retired after pulling up lame in the July in 2014. By Dansili from Jouet, she started her racing career in April 2012 and raced 17 times for six wins from 1160m -1900m and accumulated six places. Espumanti won two Gr2 races and was Gr1-placed three times, including a second to superstar Beach Beauty in the 2012 Garden Province Stakes.