David Simcock’s rejuvenation of Desert Encounter continued apace as the veteran won the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup Stakes for a second time at Newbury.
Winner of the Group Three in 2017, the seven-year-old was giving upwards of 3lb to all of his rivals, but did arrive in great heart having won his last two starts at Goodwood and Windsor.
With Ryan Moore sending Pondus on a long way out, he looked a sitting duck as first Waldstern and then Desert Encounter under a motionless Jamie Spencer loomed up alongside.
Desert Encounter (9-4) quickened clear impressively and while John Smith’s Cup winner Pivoine closed rapidly late on to get within a length, it was all too late.
The winner will now head off on his travels again.
Simcock said: “He’ll go and try to repeat his win from last year in the Canadian International at Woodbine. He flies over to Canada two weeks today.
“We came here knowing he would be a little better for the run as he needs one run to take him to another.
“He’s danced all the dances and we know his limitations, but in races like this he is pretty good and it was an amazing ride from Jamie – he’s an important part of the team and comes in three or four days each week to ride out.
“I think he’s busier and hungrier than he’s been for a long time and he’s riding better than he’s ever done.”
John Gosden’s Cherokee Trail maintained his unbeaten record and earned a quote of 50-1 for the Derby after success in the SIS Family Fun Day EBF Novice Stakes.
A winner at Ascot on debut, the Coolmore-owned son of War Front was giving 6lb to his rivals.
He was made to fight for victory by Hugo Palmer’s newcomer Imrahor, who made a bold bid but looked green in the closing stages.
The 8-13 favourite won by a length under Moore.
Former champion jockey Moore later doubled up on Ed Walker’s consistent Caradoc in the Dubai Duty Free Handicap.
Gosden’s Forest Of Dean was all the rage in the betting after connections decided to come here rather than wait for next week’s Cambridgeshire, but he was always in the rear.
Great Example looked to have stolen it on the front end, but Caradoc (5-1) and Gibbs Hill came sweeping down the middle of the track with Caradoc winning by half a length. Great Example clung on for second by a short head.
Walker said: “It’s nice to get redemption after York, where Oisin (Murphy) switched him off beautifully but it’s hard to make up ground there and the race got away from us.
“I thought the same thing had happened today, but Ryan’s body language gave me confidence and he stayed the trip well.
“He’s getting better with racing and when he learns to relax, I think he’ll get a mile and a half.”
Brian Meehan’s Raaeq went one better than on debut in the second division of the novice stakes for Jim Crowley, justifying 11-8 favouritism.
“I’ve always thought he was a very good horse with a bright future and when I ran him at Salisbury I felt he’d get further, and now I think he’ll get a mile,” said Meehan.
“Some of the top races have closed, but we did have an eye on the Horris Hill. I will be up to the owner to decide whether he runs again this year.”
Gerald Mosse produced Mick Channon’s Koeman (9-1) to win with a late run, mowing down Kosciuszko late on with What A Welcome close up in third.
Channon said: “He went up for getting beaten a nose at Kempton earlier in the year and the three-horse race at Lingfield last time wasn’t for him. Gerald said he would hold him up and he’s given him a great ride.”