In one of the great shocks of the year, the Wilgerbosdrift based Soft Falling Rain has died.
The Highlands Stud bred champion was just nine years old at the time of his passing and had been expected to cover a full book of mares in 2018.
One of 16 G1 winners sired by unraced Danzig sire National Assembly, Soft Falling Rain was one of five winners produced by the winning Giant’s Causeway mare Gardener’s Delight. The latter also produced G2 Heineken Cape Stayers winner Let It Rain, Hong Kong scorer My Nephew Eric and the smart sprinter Splendid Garden. The latter, who has to date won six times, was placed in both the G2 Senor Santa Stakes and G3 Tommy Hotspur Handicap.
This is the same family as the breed shaping US champion sire Smart Strike, sire of current stallion sensations Curlin, English Channel and Lookin At Lucky.
Soft Falling Rain was never beaten in South Africa, where he made four starts at two. The bay, trained by Mike de Kock, followed up two smart wins by landing the Listed Storm Bird Stakes (over subsequent G1 winner War Horse) before confirming his championship status when victorious in the 2012 G1 SA Nursery. Those beaten by Soft Falling Rain in the Nursery included G1 winner The Hangman, subsequent SA Classic winner Love Struck, and Golden Horseshoe hero War Horse.
He was later named Equus Champion 2YO Colt for 2012-2013.
Exported to Dubai (he was later named Champion Miler in the UAE), Soft Falling Rain reeled off three consecutive wins, with his victories including an historic score in the G2 Godolphin Mile (he was the first 3yo ever to win that prestigious contest), and Soft Falling Rain also landed the G3 UAE 2000 Guineas and UAE 2000 Guineas Prep.
Soft Falling Rain became one of just a handful of horses to win in three different countries when he smashed some smart rivals to land the G2 Nayef Joel Stakes at Newmarket in 2013, beating group winners Montiridge, Premio Loco, and Penitent, as well as 2000 Guineas runner up Glory Awaits.
He ended his racing career having won 8 of 13 races and earned over £740 000 in prize money.
Retired to Wilgerbosdrift in 2015, Soft Falling Rain proved instantly popular and was booked full throughout his all too brief stud career.
Soft Falling Rain’s first yearlings made a considerable impact at yearling sales around South Africa in 2018. He was the Leading First Crop Sire by Aggregate at the 2018 Cape Premier Yearling Sale, where yearlings by the former Premier Sale graduate made up to R1 400 000 and grossed R4 000 000 in total.
The champion also proved a smash hit at the 2018 Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale, where yearlings by Soft Falling Rain fetched as much as R1 400 000. Soft Falling Rain was the fourth Leading Sire overall, by Aggregate, at the National Sale, where his yearlings grossed a total of R10 295. Million.
He is a very sad loss for the Cape Racing Industry.