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Soft Falling Rain and Shea Shea target Royal Ascot

30 Mar 2013

The Mike De Kock duo, who won the Godolphin Mile and Al Quoz Sprint at Dubai's World Cup Meeting today, could both be forces to be reckoned with in QIPCO British Champions Series races at Royal Ascot in June.

Mike De Kock, trainer of Soft Falling Rain and Shea Shea, is already eyeing up Royal Ascot for his stable stars. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

Soft Falling Rain, owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, stretched his unbeaten career record to six races in the Godolphin Mile (Group 2) at Meydan today and given his very disadvantageous wide draw, he showed his class to win the race in the hands of Paul Hanagan.

At half way he looked to have little chance, out wide on the track and therefore being forced to run further than all his rivals.

His trainer, South African Mike De Kock, believes that Britiain’s tracks will suit the southern hemisphere four-year-old really well and races like the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and the QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, both in the Mile division of the QIPCO British Champions Series, could now be on his radar.

De Kock said: "I was blown away by the form he showed tonight – I haven’t seen too many horses under pressure like he was, he was pushed out deep but he still saw it out to claim the win.

"Champions get through it. It’s great for Sheikh Hamdan.

"If it was my choice I would rather come back in trip with him than move up in distance, but he is a fantastic prospect to look forward to.

"I think we’ll definitely take him to Royal Ascot, he’ll have at least one entry and the Queen Anne, the race Frankel won last year, would be the one for him."

With Frankel and Excelebration, the two best milers in the world last year, now retired, there is plenty of scope for new miling stars to be created and the fast improving Soft Falling Rain could be one of them.

QIPCO British Champions Series winner, Penitent, who took the Nayef Joel Stakes over a mile at Newmarket last year, failed to land a blow in the Godolphin Mile and was readily outpaced at the business end of the race.  

De Kock was also on target with hot favourite Shea Shea in the Al Quoz Sprint, a Group 1 race over five furlongs, and the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot is now very much on his agenda, in which a clash with the mighty Black Caviar is a distinct possibility.

The Queen Anne and the King’s Stand Stakes are the two opening Royal Ascot races, so Mike De Kock will be one of the men in focus on Tuesday 18 June. 

Shea Shea defeated Hong Kong stars Joy And Fun, who flopped in the King’s Stand Stakes last year, and Eagle Regiment, with QIPCO British Champions Series stalwart, Sole Power, in fourth.

Sole Power will now head for the betfred.com Temple Stakes at Haydock Park on Saturday 25 May, the opening race in the Series Sprint division which he won two years ago and finished second in last year.

Meanwhile, Cavalryman, fourth in last year’s Weatherbys Insurance Lonsdale Cup in the Long Distance dvision of the QIPCO British Champions Series, ran out a most impressive winner of the Dubai Gold Cup (Group 3) over two miles.

After dual Series winner Saddler’s Rock had cut out the running at a pedestrian pace, Cavalryman showed a fine turn of foot to put the race to bed in a matter of strides and win by an easy three lengths.  

Whether he’ll have enough stamina to win a truly run Series Long Distance race this summer remains to be seen, but he seems to be improving even at seven years of age.