Evergreen duo in the money

23 April 2021

Two Group-race runners – two places. Not a bad day’s work for the Simcock team at Sandown.
Stable stalwarts Desert Encounter and Bless Him made very pleasing starts to their respective campaigns, both finishing second in Group races.

Desert Encounter comfortably outran his odds of 40/1 when going down by a length and a quarter to Waldkonig in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes.

Jockey Andrea Atzeni settled him out the back for much of the mile and a quarter contest before the nine-year-old was launched with a rattling challenge that saw him surge past rivals.

The exertions of such an exciting move began to tell in the final furlong but he still finished two and half lengths in front of the third-placed horse.

He will head next to the Tapster Stakes, staged over a mile and a half at Goodwood.

Desert Encounter
Half an hour later it was the turn of 28/1 chance Bless Him to carry the stable flag with distinction. The seven-year-old was only beaten by a most-impressive Palace Pier in the Group 2 Mile.

Trainer David Simcock said: “Both of the old boys ran with lots of credit.

“Desert Encounter proved that he retains his ability. He has carried a Group 1 penalty at this time of year in the past, so he hasn’t run in those type of races and has usually been in Dubai during the winter.

“So, this season it’s nice that we can go with him in April, May and June, which we normally don’t.

“And Bless Him, if he can finish placed in races like today’s and hopefully have his day in a Listed race along the way, we’ll enjoy him. We’ll look abroad with him later on. He is a very talented horse in his own right.”

As he drove home from Surrey this afternoon, David was understandably in positive mood. Like the rest of us, he is really excited about the weeks and months ahead after trying times for so many.

He added: “Last year was awful for everybody. I’m just looking forward to this season – crowds coming back and an atmosphere.”

All in racing will echo those sentiments...