Hungerford option for Soft Falling Rain

Mike de Kock’s South African star Soft Falling Rain could make his British bow in the Betfred Hungerford Stakes at Newbury on August 17.

The Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned four-year-old is unbeaten in seven career starts and claimed both the UAE 2000 Guineas and the Godolphin Mile at the Dubai Carnival at Meydan earlier this year.

He has been given plenty of time to recover from those early-season exertions and is close to a comeback, according De Kock’s assistant, Steve Jell.

Jell said: “We gave him a good break after Dubai. He ran such a huge race on his last run there and he always puts 110% into his races, so he was quite tired afterwards.

“He’s building back up again now and we have a couple of targets earmarked over the next couple of months. The Hungerford has been mentioned as an option, but there is no definite plan.”

Jell also reports star sprinter Shea Shea on course for the Coolmore Nunthorpe at York on August 23. Winner of the Al Quoz Sprint on World Cup night at Meydan, the six-year-old was beaten a neck by Sole Power in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot before finishing fourth in the July Cup at Newmarket.

“Everything is OK and we are on our way to York,” said Jell.

“He had a quiet week after Newmarket, but we are building him up again now and he is back on the treadmill. It’s all systems go.

“Going back to five furlongs on a flatter track is more what he is used to, so we’ll see what happens.”

Meanwhile Lady Cecil’s exciting filly Songbird could take in a trip to Newbury en-route to a possible crack at the Darley Yorkshire Oaks on August 22.

The four-year-old made a sparkling racecourse debut at Salisbury in mid-May and confirmed her talent with an 11-length triumph on her handicap debut at Yarmouth last month.

She is now set for a step up in class, with Newbury’s British Stallion Studs EBF Chalice Stakes her most likely next port of call.

Owner Robert Ogden’s racing manager, Barry Simpson, said: “She’s fine and she has a couple of options coming up. The Goodwood race is also open to colts and Newbury is probably the favourite at the moment, but a lot will depend on the ground.”


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