Mike de Kock had his first Dubai World Cup Carnival win of 2013PICTURE: Edward Whitaker
Soft Falling Rain records emphatic Trial victory
UAE: Soft Falling Rain advertised his UAE 2,000 Guineas claims in emphatic fashion when making all under Paul Hanagan in the 7f trial for the first colts' Classic at Meydan on Thursday evening.
A Group 1 winner in his native South Africa, he has now won all five starts for trainer Mike de Kock who has already won the UAE 2,000 Guineas on four occasions.
His last three winners of that race all won this prep race first and De Kock said: "We know he is a very good horse but he had to show us that he handled this Tapeta surface and that he would stay seven furlongs under his Group 1 penalty. He has answered all those questions in style and we hope he will stay the extra furlong in the Guineas itself."
All four of his previous UAE 2,000 Guineas winners went on to win the UAE Derby but plans remain fluid for Soft Falling Rain beyond the Guineas.
"The UAE Derby trip of one mile one furlong might stretch him too far and we could stick at a mile with the Godolphin Mile in mind but we will see how the Guineas goes first," added De Kock, who was winning his first race at this year's Dubai World Cup Carnival.
Also opening their 2013 accounts were Mahmood Al Zarooni and Mickael Barzalona who were in treble form, highlighted by Music Chart who led close home to win the UAE 1,000 Guineas Trial and deny the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Shuruq with the pair pulling well clear of the remainder.
Al Zarooni, who won this race with subsequent UAE 1,000 Guineas heroine Gamilati last year, said: "She will go for the Guineas itself now but I also have Lovely Pass for that who is a filly we really like as well."
Barzalona has used similar tactics in the 1m2f turf handicap when producing the Al Zarooni-trained Laajooj to deny Kieren Fallon on stable companion Naqshabban, who led a furlong out only to be denied in the dying strides.
Mahmood Al Zarooni: treblePICTURE: Edward Whitaker
The winner established a new track record in the process.
The pair completed a good night’s work with the hard-fought victory of Anatolian in the concluding 1m4f turf handicap with the pair just holding the challenge of the Bin Suroor-trained Ahzeemah.
Al Zarooni said: "We had just three runners last week and they went well so we were hoping for a good evening but to have a treble is better then we expected."
Hanagan had earlier initiated a double on Tamaathul who made his first attempt at 6f a winning one in a 16-runner handicap.
Settled well off a furious early pace, Hanagan produced his mount to challenge on the stand side a furlong out and they won going away – breaking another track record in the process.
The winner is trained by local champion Ali Rashid Al Raihe and Hanagan said: "He was caught close home over seven furlongs last week so dropping him back to six seemed the thing to do and it worked. They went very quick which has given him something to aim at and he picked up well.”
The opening 1m Tapeta handicap was won comfortably by Capital Attraction who made virtually all under Tadhg O'Shea, following up an easy win at Jebel Ali last Friday for trainer Ernst Oertel.
O’Shea said: "We were a bit worried about turning him out so quickly but that was impressive from a bad draw. The Jebel Ali Mile is only next week and that may be a bit soon but we will see how he is because he is improving rapidly."