DESERT Encounter got his 2017 campaign off to a flying start with an impressive success in the Buckhounds Stakes at Ascot.
The five-year-old won four races on the trot last season but showed he is still very much on the upgrade with this Listed triumph – his first in stakes class.
Abdulla Al Mansoori’s gelding was second in a Listed race 245 days earlier. Returning with Sean Levey aboard for the first time, the duo did just about everything right in recording victory by two and three-quarter lengths.
Desert Encounter was slowly away but Levey was happy to bide his time at the back in the mile-and-a-half contest.
As they turned for home, the majority of the field drifted across towards the centre of the track allowing trainer David Simcock’s charge a smooth passage on the inside.
The 8/1 shot burst to the front and won in fine style to suggest he will be at home if stepped up into Group company next time.Levey said: “He showed a great turn of foot. He has won a Listed race today – it’s onwards and upwards from here.”