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Pattison Canadian International notes for Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019

October 5, 2019


Horse – Trainer – Owner – Jockey

Alounak (FR) – Waldemar Hickst – Darius Racing – Clement Lecoeuvre

Desert Encounter (IRE) – David Simcock – Abdulla Al Mansoori – Andrea Atzeni

Nessy – Ian Wilkes – Sierra Farm – Chris Landeros

Pivoine (IRE) – Andrew Balding – King Power Racing Co. Ltd. – Rob Hornby

Pumpkin Rumble – Kevin Attard – Al and Bill Ulwelling – Eurico Rosa Da Silva

Tiz a Slam – Roger Attfield – Chiefswood Stables Limited – Steven Bahen

Ziyad (GB) – Carlos Laffon-Parias – Wertheimer et Frere – Maxime Guyon


TORONTO, October 5, 2019 – Desert Encounter, who won last year’s edition of the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International, is back to defend his title in Woodbine’s $800,000 fall turf classic.

A seven-year-old son of Halling, Desert Encounter, owned by Abdulla Al Mansoori, and trained by David Simcock, arrives at next Saturday’s race in top form, having won his past three starts.

He launched his win streak on August 2 in the Queen’s Plate Glorious Stakes, taking the 1 ½-mile Group 3 event by 2 ¼-lengths at Goodwood. That victory was followed up with a win in the Group 3 Sky Sports Racing Winter Hill Stakes, contested on August 24 at Windsor.

Desert Encounter’s final engagement before the International was a one-length triumph in the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup – also a Group 3 event – on September 21 at Newbury.

Simcock was especially pleased with the Legacy Cup performance, a familiar race for Desert Encounter.

“It was very much used as a prep race (for the International), as it was last year. The fact that he won was a bonus.”

The bay gelding, who sports a record of 11-4-7 from 30 career starts, ships into Woodbine today.

“He’s been very consistent this year,” praised Simcock. “And he seems to be in good order.”

Pattison Canadian International champion Desert Encounter in the winner’s circle with jockey Andrea Atzeni and racing manager Philip Robinson. (Michael Burns Photo)

Desert Encounter will look to become the first horse since Joshua Tree (2012-13) to win consecutive runnings of the International. The pair share some things in common: Desert Encounter became the first six-year-old to win the race since Joshua Tree (who also won in 2010) accomplished the feat six years ago, and they’re both Irish-breds.

In 2014, Simcock enjoyed a banner day at Woodbine. He watched Trade Storm win the turf Mile at Woodbine, and another trainee, Sheikhzayedroad, took the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf earlier on the card.

He’s hoping this Saturday is also twice as nice.

“We’re very fond of him – he’s an old boy, and he’s done us a lot of favours,” Simcock noted after the Sky Sports Racing Winter Hill Stakes. “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.”

Which is why an October date at Canada’s Showplace of Racing is an ideal spot.

“He’s a kind horse and very straightforward to deal with,” said Simcock. “I would say his general constitution with regards to travel and racing is what impresses me the most.”

Although Jamie Spencer was in the irons for the past three races, Andrea Atzeni, who was aboard for last year’s International win, will be in the saddle on Saturday.

Desert Encounter and jockey Andrea Atzeni winning the 2018 edition of the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International at Woodbine Racetrack. (Michael Burns Photo)


TSN and Woodbine Entertainment will deliver live television coverage of the Pattison Canadian International on Saturday, Oct. 12. The broadcast will air on TSN4 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.


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