• Racing/
  • De Kock Happy With Rain

Nayef Joel Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 2) 1m

  • (3yo+, 1m, Class 1, 7 runners)
  • Winner £51,039 2nd £19,350 3rd £9,684 4th £4,824 5th £2,421 6th £1,215
  • Going: Good to Firm, Good in places
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 1m 37.20s
  • Off time: 14:41:57
Full result
Result 14:40 Newmarket
Pos Horse Distance/th> Odds
1st 5 Soft Falling Rain 13/8f
2nd 7 Montiridge 5/2
  • Last Updated: September 26 2013, 13:29 BST

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 on Friday.

Soft Falling Rain: Trainer confident of improved performance
Soft Falling Rain: Trainer confident of improved performance

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 Two 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."

Marco Botti feels Guest Of Honour will appreciate the drop back in trip after finding the mile and a quarter of the Arlington Million in Chicago too far last time.

The four-year-old had earlier finished a close third to Aljamaaheer in the Group Two Summer Mile at Ascot.

"We think he is back in good form. He probably didn't really enjoy the track there and the mile and a quarter just stretched him a little bit," said Botti.

"I think we've got him back. He did a nice piece of work last week, so we are happy with him and the ground should be in his favour as he wants good ground."

Connections of Penitent are hoping there will be enough juice in the ground for last year's winner.

The intention is to let the seven-year-old take his chance but trainer David O'Meara will check conditions first.

"Good, good to firm ground would not be ideal. David is down in Newmarket and he's going to monitor the ground," said Nick Bradley spokesman for owners Middleham Park Racing.

"It's a race he won last year. He's going to go there with a great chance if he does get his ground.

"He couldn't be in better form. He won last time out on softer ground. I'd be amazed if he didn't run a big race."

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