Soft Falling Rain whets appetite at Newmarket

Master The World (right) wins the NGK Spark Plugs E.B.F. Maiden Stakes. Picture: PA
Master The World (right) wins the NGK Spark Plugs E.B.F. Maiden Stakes. Picture: PA
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Mike de Kock expects Soft Falling Rain to be a different proposition from his return to action when he lines up for the Nayef Joel Stakes at Newmarket today.

The South African trainer is confident the Sheikh Hamdan-owned colt has come on for his first start for 140 days when he suffered his first defeat in finishing second to Gregorian in the Hungerford Stakes on his British debut at Newbury last month. De Kock, who took this Group 2 prize over a mile with Eagle Mountain in 2008, could aim his charge at the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes should all go well and said: “I’m very happy with the horse. He’s going the right way and he will strip fitter for his run at Newbury. This will be a good test for him over a stiff mile, but we’re hopeful that he will run well and this will help plan his programme for the rest of the season.”

Miracle Of Medinah caused a 25-1 shock in yesterday’s feature Somerville Tattersall Stakes for trainer Mark Usher and jockey Liam Keniry. After rattling off a hat-trick in June and July, his progression appeared to have been halted with defeats in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood and a sales race at York.

However, he travelled well close to the pace before kicking clear in the dip and grabbing the rail. It soon became clear the son of Milk It Mick, who won this event himself in 2003 before going on to win the Dewhurst, had stolen a race-winning advantage and despite the favourite Cable Bay giving chase, he could not get on terms and lost out by a length a quarter. Nezar was third.

At Perth yesterday, Double Ross was a well-backed winner of the feature event in a race trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies is often represented by a highly-regarded prospect. Backed into 8-13 favourite for the Timothy Hardie Jewellers Novices’ Chase, son Sam brought the seven-year-old home a length and three-quarters ahead of Attaglance.

Twiston-Davies snr said: “He could go to Cheltenham next month but we haven’t decided anything just yet. Bindaree and Fundamentalist both won this for us and its good money for the time of year.”

The Twiston-Davies team went on to record a quick double when Frontier Vic took the Celebrating 40 Years Of Expro Novices’ Handicap Hurdle. Twiston-Davies snr added: “He’s a nice young horse and, hopefully, he will keep improving”

One horse that is Cheltenham-bound is Tom George-trained Kilbree Kid, who took the step up in trip in his stride to land the staying novices’ hurdle for Paddy Brennan. The winning point-to-pointer is heading to Prestbury Park on 18 October for a three-mile hurdle as he attempts to extend his winning sequence to four.

Gordon Elliott had his very first winner at Perth in 2006 and he was on the mark again when Jason Maguire steered Castletown Bridge to victory in the Isle Of Skye 8-Y-O Blended Whisky Novices’ Hurdle. The Grand National-winning trainer said: “Arresting started it all for me here and I love the place to bits. I reckon that around 90 winners I’ve had so we’ll need to go for 100 when we’re back next year!”

SELECTIONS

Newmarket

1.40 Radiator

2.10 Lanansaak

2.40 Soft Falling Rain (nap)

3.15 Rizeena

3.50 Yuften

4.25 Chancery

5.00 Christmas Light

5.30 Aegaeus

Haydock

1.30 Dark Ruler

2.00 Sporting Gold

2.30 High Accolade

3.00 Kaheyll

3.35 Muspelheim

4.10 Magic Of Reality

4.45 Big Thunder

5.20 Bejeweled

Worcester

1.50 Civil Unrest

2.20 Abbey Storm

2.50 Sagredo

3.25 Germany Calling

4.00 Bens Moor

4.35 Dom Lukka

5.10 Planetoid

5.45 Transfer

Wolverhampton

5.40 Pippy

6.10 Napinda

6.40 Jake’s Destiny

7.10 That’s Plenty

7.40 Archibald Thorburn

8.10 Charlemagne Diva

8.40 Gabrial’s King

9.10 Gabrial The Thug

Double

Soft Falling Rain

2:40 Newmarket

Rizeena

3:15 Newmarket