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QIPCO British Champions Day next for Soft Falling Rain

27 Sep 2013

Soft Falling Rain took his tally to eight victories from nine starts this afternoon when taking race six in the Mile division, the Nayef Joel Stakes, in impressive style - next up will be the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day.

Soft Falling Rain with jockey Paul Hanagan and owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum after his Nayef Joel Stakes victory. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

Soft Falling Rain has always been regarded as a champion by his South African trainer, Mike De Kock, and having proved that he had the class in his home country and in Dubai earlier in the year, he showed that he is a colt of huge potential to British racegoers at Newmarket this afternoon.

QIPCO British Champions Day now beckons.

He struck the front in the Nayef Joel Stakes over two furlongs from home and quickly put the race to bed.

Market rival Montiridge briefly looked a threat, but Soft Falling Rain had plenty left in reserve and ran on strongly to finish three and a half lengths clear of Montiridge with five lengths and more back to the rest.

In so doing, he took his impressive track record to eight wins from nine starts.

Only his defeat to Gregorian at Newbury last month, when he was not fully fit after four and half months off, spoils his record.

Next up will be the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday 19 October and despite the likely presence of Dawn Approach and Toronado, Soft Falling Rain cannot be written off by any means.

De Kock said: “He looked like he’d go further today, but I think he’s best at a mile. We’ll have a go at the QEII now. That’s why we came here.

"I was worried about him being too keen but he was very good; he was well ridden.

“He improved quite a bit from Newbury and I still think there’s more to come from this horse. That’s the way we train them – we try and step them up all the time.

“The thing in his favour [in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes] is he’s coming off fresh legs after a good rest, whereas a lot of them have a hard season.

“Whether or not he’s good enough the race will tell. I thought he beat a very good horse today in a very competitive field, which is encouraging.

"The best of the best are going to be there [at Ascot] – we are not kidding ourselves.

“I think he’ll stay in training. If he gets a Group 1 under his belt, I don’t know. I’d be very keen as I think his better days are ahead of him."