DESERT Encounter looks set for a Group 1 engagement after connections left him in next Wednesday’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The six-year-old made an encouraging start to his European campaign when third in the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes a fortnight ago.
The son of Halling is also in the Hardwicke Stakes but trainer David Simcock expects his charge to line up over a mile and a quarter in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes in which nine horses remain after the six-day entry stage.
David said: “Desert Encounter will probably head to the Prince of Wales’s. He’ll give us all a good day out.
“He is one of those horses that doesn’t really let you down. Even though he’ll be a 50/1 shot he’ll run above his odds. He is that type of horse.”
Last year Bless Him sprang a 25/1 surprise in the Britannia and he is bound for another big Ascot handicap next week with the Royal Hunt Cup on his agenda.
Things haven’t worked out for the Sea The Stars colt since his victory at the royal meeting, including on his seasonal bow at Nottingham where underfoot conditions turned against him.
David explained: “Bless Him didn’t have an ideal prep at Nottingham – I would like him to have had more of a race. It went soft and he doesn’t go on soft ground. Plus he came in late looking burly so it hasn’t been an ideal preparation.
"But the stiff mile at Ascot suits him. A fast pace is also good for him and he needs fast ground."