Mike de Kock unwraps UAE 2000 Guineas birthday gift

Soft Falling Rain treats Sheikh Hamdan to first UAE Colt’s Classic

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and his brother Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum were on course to witness Sheikh Hamdan’s Soft Falling Rain earn a record fifth UAE 2000 Guineas for South African trainer, according to the Dubai Racing Club.

Soft Falling Rain, winner of the 1,400m trial three weeks previously, coped admirably well with the extra 200m at Meydan under the owner's main jockey Paul Hanagan  recording a first UAE 2000 Guineas win for his owner.

The entire six-race card was sponsored by Al Tayer Motors.

Champion Juvenile in 2012 South Africa, Soft Falling Rain has now won all six career starts.

"He is a really nice horse and we will have to decide where he runs next,” said Sheikh Hamdan.
“This 1,600m really seems to suit him on this surface and we could stick to this trip. The UAE Derby is possible but he has a lot of speed.

"Wherever he runs here next we are keen to take him to England and Royal Ascot would be a possibility for him."

De Kock added: "We were a bit concerned about his stamina but he has seen it out well and we will have to think about his next race."

The rest of the card was dominated by Godolphin.
Mahmood Al Zarooni saddled the final three winners, including Group 3 victories for Moonwalk In Paris in the Firebreak Stakes and Mental in the Al Shindagha Sprint.

Both were making their local debuts and first start for the trainer.

First up was Moonwalk In Paris who led close to home in the 1,600m Firebreak Stakes having picked a path through tiring rivals under Ahmed Ajtebi.

The pair found a gap on the rail about 200m out and ran on strongly with Ajtebi, who won the UAE 1000 Guineas on Lovely Pass last week for the same connections, said: "The horse was brave and happy to go through the gaps when they opened. It was a good performance."

Stable companion, Fulbright was second under Mickael Barzalona who then rode a double for the trainer, highlighted by the 1200m all-weather victory of Mental who was able to overcome Group 1 penalty.

Settled well off the pace, he made smooth progress down the centre of the track under Barzalona with the pair denying the De Kock-trained Kavanagh close home and Fawzi Nass’s Krypton Factor in third.

Barzalona said: "His Australian form was very good and his work had been pleasing but he should improve for this run. The surface was a query but he handled it well."

The jockey then completed his double and the trainer's treble with the smooth victory of Anatolian in the concluding 2435m turf handicap.

Earlier, fellow Godolphin trainer, Saeed bin Suroor supplied a 1-2-3 in the opening 2,200m all-weather handicap with Kassiano passing stable companion Modun about 200m out with Royal Empire denying him second close to home.

The 1,800m turf handicap was won easily by UK raider Trade Storm who was able to overcome a hefty bump at the start to win going away.

Settled in last by Jamie Spencer, he made very smooth progress 400m out before sweeping past all his rivals to lead about 100m out and win going away.

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