TRILLIUM Place Stables has its first major international day of the season this Saturday when Desert Encounter and Sheikhzayedroad bid for glory on the prestigious Dubai World Cup card at Meydan.
Desert Encounter will contest the $6million Dubai Sheema Classic, a top-class turf race staged over a mile and a half.
Now six, the Abdulla Al Mansoori-owned son of Halling had some very smart form to his name last season at 10 to 12 furlongs.
But he will need to improve again to make his presence felt in a truly international race that includes a trio of Japanese contenders.
Desert Encounter, who will be ridden as last year by Sean Levey, had a work-out at Chelmsford to get him ready for the challenge.
Trainer David Simcock explained: “He went there and had a spin round, just to get the freshness out of him more than anything.
“Desert Encounter’s in good order and travelled over well to Dubai. He is in a competitive race. We’re under no illusions, we’ve got plenty to find.
“But he has got some good form in England from last year and is more than capable of picking up the pieces.”
Sheikhzayedroad has been in Dubai for considerably longer than his stable-mate, having already run there during the annual Carnival.
At the start of this month he finished third for the second successive year in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy, a Group 3 staged over a mile and three-quarters.
Last season the Mohammed Jaber-owned gelding went on to finish third in the two-mile Dubai Gold Cup, in which the nine-year-old again lines up this weekend.
David said: “Sheikhzayedroad ran a very similar prep race to last year.
“If he can finish in the money on Saturday we’d be pleased and if he can emulate last year and finish in the first three we’d be over the moon.”
The trainer flew out on Tuesday night to apply the final touches in the preparations of the two Trillium horses.
He added: “Whenever we can have runners on World Cup night it’s a bonus. It’s good to be part of it.”