Soft Falling Rain ready for Hungerford Stakes Test
The highlight of Saturday’s Newbury card is the first appearance on European soil of the unbeaten South African colt Soft Falling Rain. Mick de Kock’s four-year-old has not been seen since winning the Group 2 Godolphin Mile at Meydan in March.
He had previously won the UAE 2000 Guineas impressively and the son of National Assembly has the potential to go right to the top. Paul Hanagan takes the ride in the colours of Hamdan Al Maktoum and anything less than victory would be a disappointment.
The main danger should come from Caspar Netscher who ran an eye-catching second in the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last month. That was his first start back since proving subfertile at stud and he has the form to test the favourite.
He won the Mill Reef Stakes here at two and then went on to win the Greenham Stakes and the German 2000 Guineas as a three-year-old. Gregorian represents the John Gosden yard that have a terrific strike rate over the past fortnight.
He would not be out of it on his excellent third in the Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot whilst Tawhid has been running well without getting his head in front. Johnny Murtagh comes in for the ride on the three-year-old who has tended to hang in the closing stages of his races.
Richard Hannon saddles three youngsters in the maiden race at 1.35 and Tea In Transvaal looks the pick of them. The Teofilo filly ran well when fourth in a hot maiden at Ascot on her debut and will be difficult to beat here.
The Denford Stud Stakes at 2.05 has been won by some top class colts over the years and Somewhat will be a short priced favourite to step up on his excellent second at Newmarket. Speedy Approach won nicely at Doncaster whilst the Godolphin’s Be Ready is a well-bred newcomer.
The Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes at 2.40 has attracted a strong field headed by Ed Dunlop’s popular Red Cadeaux. He could be bound for the Melbourne Cup again this year along with Lost In The Moment who has run two fine races this season.
Biographer will be a leading contender if he gets sufficient ease in the ground whilst I’m Your Man represents France. Aiken has not run yet this term but anything saddled by Gosden at the moment has to be seriously considered.
The seven-furlong handicap at 3.50 looks wide open but the booking of Johnny Murtagh for Glen Moss could be significant. He ran well behind Galician here last time and this looks a good opportunity. The market could be the best guide to the respective chances of the Hannon-trained pair, Democrates and Janoub Nibras.
Gosden should make sure that he does not leave the track empty-handed when Thomas Hobson runs in the 4.25. He was value for more than the four-length winning margin at Leicester and can win this at the expense of Jabhaat.
Selections: 1.35 Tea In Transvaal (NAP), 2.05 Somewhat, 2.40 Lost In The Moment, 3.15 Soft Falling Rain, 3.50 Glen Moss, 4.25 Thomas Hobson (nb), 4.55 Hi Note