sport

De Kock hoping for Rain

The unbeaten Soft Falling Rain lines up for Mike De Kock in the UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan on Thursday.

Soft Falling Rain was the champion juvenile in South Africa and must give weight to all his rivals after his ready success in last month's trial.

"He had a few questions to answer," De Kock said.

"He has a lot of natural speed and there was a slight concern 1400m (seven furlongs) might be a bit far but he stayed well enough. He had worked well on the surface but until they race on it you can never be certain.

"Again the extra 200m has to be a concern but my gut feeling is he will stay and he is certainly a lot fitter than he was three weeks ago."

Filfil, Snowboarder and Fortify line up in opposition for Mahmood Al Zarooni, who has saddled the last two winners of the event.

Another with big claims for De Kock is Daddy Long Legs, who landed the UAE Derby at last year's World Cup meeting but lost his way for Aidan O'Brien.

He faces serious opposition in the Group Three Firebreak Stakes headed by popular local veteran Barbecue Eddie and ex-Sir Michael Stoute runner Treble Jig, who has made waves in Jebel Ali.

"He has had a few problems but we are very happy with him now, he is sound and moving as well as I have seen him," said De Kock.

"He will definitely improve with the run under his belt but this looks the perfect slot to get him back on the track."

The Al Shindagha Sprint sees the return of last year's Golden Shaheen winner Krypton Factor, having his first outing since taking sixth behind Black Caviar in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

Owner-trainer Fawzi Nass said: "He has been off since Royal Ascot last June and this has been the race we targeted for his comeback as he has no penalty.

"He has a nice draw in three and usually goes well fresh but we have definitely left a bit to work on with the Golden Shaheen and the end of March still a fair way off."