Simcock and Spencer pull off big-race double

Desert Encounter takes Windsor record to three out of three

  • Saturday 24 August
  • News
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Jockey Jamie Spencer and trainer David Simcock recorded a black-type double at Windsor with Desert Encounter and Raakib Alhawa.

Spencer, out of luck at York earlier, made his evening trip south worthwhile with two successful waiting rides as Desert Encounter pounced late in the Group Three Sky Sports Racing Winter Hill Stakes to add to his stablemate’s Listed win in the Sri Lanka August Stakes.

Desert Encounter, winner of the August Stakes on the same card 12 months ago, was extending his record at Windsor to three out of three when he mastered the front-running Matterhorn by half a length at 4-1.

Simcock described the evergreen seven-year-old’s latest victory as a “bonus” as he schedules a repeat of the gelding’s 2018 campaign – on to Newbury’s Arc Trial next month and then an attempt to follow up his success in the Grade One Canadian International at Woodbine in October.

Desert Encounter was back down slightly in trip to 10 furlongs, but had enough acceleration to overhaul prolific winner Matterhorn – who had scored in the Listed Midsummer Stakes on his only previous visit to Windsor.

Simcock told Sky Sports Racing: “We’re very fond of him – he’s an old boy, and he’s done us a lot of favours.

“This is a bit of a bonus really – we came here to keep him racing.

“It will be the same route as last year (for him). He’ll go to Newbury and Canada in October – he’s got it all mapped out.

“He’s been around so long, so you know him so well. You know the first part of the season is going to be a little bit of a disaster, and then he comes good end of July onwards.”

Raakib Alhawa, a 7-2 shot, saw out his new trip of almost a mile and a half – albeit in a steadily-run race – to out-speed Grace And Danger by a length and a quarter at the line.

Afterwards, the winning trainer admitted to a blip or two along the way this season with the three-year-old Kingman colt – who had won on his debut over a mile last September but was found wanting at the same distance in two runs early this summer.

Simcock said: “It’s been a bit of a journey.

“We got it quite wrong with him – which was partly my fault, partly others’.

“We were probably trying to make him quicker than he was, probably slightly over-trained him early – but he’s come back good and fresh, and we know what direction we’re going in now.

“He hoodwinked certainly me, and a few others, into thinking he was quicker than a middle-distance horse – but really this is the trip he wants, and he might end up quite good at it.”

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