Desert Encounter in Canadian Gr.1 action

09 October 2019

TRAINER David Simcock reports Desert Encounter to be in very good shape ahead of his bid for a repeat success in the Canadian International on Saturday at Woodbine.
The seven-year-old gelding triumphed in the mile and a half Grade 1 on turf a year ago.

He has since enjoyed a very successful 2019 campaign and will now try to complete a four-timer after Group-race wins at Goodwood, Windsor and Newbury.

The Trillium Place horse’s latest victory arrived at Newbury two and a half weeks ago when he landed the Legacy Cup Stakes (formerly the Arc Trial).

Desert Encounter carried more weight than each of his four rivals on that occasion, but scored comfortably by a length.

He is set for an altogether stiffer assignment in Canada where he is one of four European contenders.

The French-trained Group 2 winner Ziyad has travelled across the Atlantic Ocean to Woodbine, along with Pivoine for Andrew Balding and Alounak for W. Hickst.

David assessed: “Desert Encounter has had a great run-in to this race. He’s had a similar programme to last year.

“He has shipped over fine and is very happy. He takes very little training once he’s over there. I think we’d be very confident that he’ll run well.

“It’s going to be a very small, select field this year with what looks a very good French horse in the race. You don’t quite expect to see something like Ziyad, who is probably an improving horse – whereas we know exactly where we stand.

“So it’s not going to be easy, but I think Desert Encounter will turn up in great shape.

“He travels so well, likes the track and everything else – we’re looking forward to running him anyway. Andrea Atzeni rides.”