$1,000,000 GODOLPHIN MILE (Group 2)
Meydan, All Weather, 1600m
30 March 2013
South African trainer Mike de Kock has won countless feature races at the Dubai World Cup Carnival by intuitively placing his horses in potentially winning positions. Some may have characterized the entry of South African-bred 3-year-old Soft Falling Rain (National Assembly) against his elders in Saturday’s $1,000,000 Godolphin Mile (Group 2) as something of an audacious move, given that there was an opportunity to run against his peers in the following race. But the Shadwell runner got things off to a flying start for the stable and overcame a difficult trip to maintain his undefeated record. Longshot Haatheq (Seeking the Gold) held for a Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum one-two, while Godolphin’s Moonwalk in Paris (Oratorio) ran on well from the tail to round out the minors.
Drawn to the far outside in 13, Soft Falling Rain raced in the second flight of horses as Group 1 Travers Stakes dead-heater, Alpha (Bernardini), dictated terms over a track playing exceedingly slow in the heat of the late afternoon. The chalk was never able to get in on the track as Haatheq surged past the pacesetter to lead with 400 meters to race. But Soft Falling Rain responded very gamely to the urgings of jockey Paul Hanagan and worked his way past Haatheq close to home for a richly deserved victory.
“They went so quick from the start that I had to go wider than I wanted all the way,” Hanagan related. “I wondered whether he could come forward when we reached the straight but this horse is so genuine. It was an amazing race and great thrill. It ranks with my best ever wins. Before this my best was on Mayson in the July Cup last year.”
De Kock was hugely impressed after the race and said: “This was an unbelievably good win by Soft Falling Rain. It’s one of the most impressive wins I’ve seen by a horse in my life!” He added: ” haven’t seen too many horses under pressure that far out and still find something at the finish. It just shows how good a horse he is. Turning for home I would have been happy to be second but the horse dug in and fought all the way. I thought he could win but in the race, I was worried. I knew he’d won when he crossed the line. He will go to Royal Ascot and we will enter him in the one-mile Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes and the six-furlong Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes.”
Soft Falling Rain is now unbeaten in six starts.
Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News and Mike de Kock Racing