LONDON // Mike De Kock will aim a stellar trio of former Dubai World Cup Carnival runners at British Champions Day next month.
Igugu, Soft Falling Rain and The Apache are all in line to run at Ascot as their preparations continue for another tilt at the Carnival in Dubai next year.
Igugu and Soft Falling Rain are to have a prep run at Newmarket next week. Former champion filly Igugu is slated for a run in the Listed Rosemary Stakes, while Soft Falling Rain has an opportunity to make good in the Group 2 Nayef Joel Stakes. Both races are run over a mile.
Igugu has not raced since finishing a disappointing eighth to Military Attack at Hong Kong’s Sha Tin Racecourse in April. De Kock has tried to give her time to get over her problems, which has resulted in her remaining in a southern hemisphere cycle.
“Igugu was in season for the whole of her Dubai campaign and then again during the two months of hot weather in Newmarket but is better now,” said Steve Jell, De Kock’s assistant in Newmarket.
“We have the British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes in mind for her. It is over a mile and a half but that should not be a problem as she won the Oaks over further than that back home in South Africa.”
Soft Falling Rain, the Godolphin Mile winner, lost his unbeaten tag when going down to Princess Haya of Jordan’s Gregorian in the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury Racecourse last month.
It was Soft Falling Rain’s first run since scoring at Meydan Racecourse in March and Jell was seemingly unconcerned at the setback.
“He had a long break before his second place in the Hungerford Stakes so he needed the race. He was beaten by a decent horse and we were not upset at all by that defeat,” Jell said. “The Queen Elizabeth II over the straight mile has always been the long-term plan.”
The Apache will head straight to Ascot in a bid to get back to winning ways after being disqualified at Arlington in the Million, won by Real Solution.
The six year old, owned by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa, is pencilled in for the Champion Stakes, where he could meet Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid’s Mukhadram, who trainer William Haggas revealed yesterday was on course for the clash.
“Mukhadram is in great form,” Haggas said. “We always intended to give him a break and then it was always the Champion Stakes that Sheikh Hamdan wanted to go for.”