Mike De Kock: says Soft Falling Rain has a touch of classPICTURE: Liesl King/ThoroughbredNEWS
De Kock chasing more Guineas glory with Rain
Preview: UAE, Thursday 3.55pm GMT (Live on Sky)
Meydan: UAE 2000 Guineas (Group 3) 1m, Tapeta, 3yo
LAST year's champion South African juvenile, Sof Falling Rain, faces seven rivals in Thursday's UAE 2,000 Guineas, a race his trainer Mike De Kock has won on four occasions.
The trainer's last three winners, Asiatic Boy, Honour Devil and Musir all won the 7f trial Soft Falling Rain landed three weeks ago before winning the first colts' classic.
De Kock is very much looking forward to the race and said: "We could not have been more pleased with that trial win, which proved he handles the Tapeta but we really thought he would need the run. He is a lot fitter now but does have to prove his stamina at a mile. My gut feeling is that he will be stay.
"We also run Zahee, who will definitely stay but probably does not have that touch of class Soft Falling Rain has."
The David Simcock-trained Glass Office endured a torrid passage in that trial and should finish closer, granted luck in running, with Jamie Spencer again aboard.
Simcock said: "We had to be happy with his run in the trial all things considered as nothing really went right for him. He was working well before that and has continued to do so. There might be a query over a mile suiting him but we are hopeful of a bold show."
Deauville Prince, a Listed winner last year and fourth in the Gran Criterium on his most recent start for Tom Dascombe, and the Mark Johnston-trained filly Pure Excellence complete a three-pronged attack from England.
However, Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni is seeking a third consecutive win in the race and it may well be that the main danger to De Kock's horse lies among his trio.
Snowboarder and Filfil were third and sixth respectively in the trial but new recruit Fortify looks the stable's number one hope with Mickael Barzalona in the saddle.
His last start produced a fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile behind Shanghai Bobby, behind whom he was third and second on his previous two starts, having made a winning debut.
Al Zarooni said: "He is a really nice new horse and has done everything asked of him at home where he has been training particularly well. He should handle the surface and we are expecting a good effort although he will improve for the run."