New Bahrain race beckons for Canadian International hero Desert Encounter

Desert Encounter (Andrea Atzeni) winning the G1 Pattison Canadian International from Alounak at Woodbine on Saturday. Michael Burns photo

Dual Pattison Canadian International winner Desert Encounter could be off on his travels again next month with a lucrative new race in Bahrain the target.

The British-trained 7-year-old, who has now won his last four races, may attempt to make it a five-timer in the inaugural running of the £200,000 Bahrain International Trophy, to be run over 2000 metres (ten furlongs) on turf on Friday, November 22, at Bahrain Racecourse.

The kingdom’s Rashid Equestrian & Horseracing Club announced yesterday that 46 entries have been taken for the race, with six different nations represented, including eight from Bahrain itself. Horses from Britain (23), UAE (5), Ireland (4), Germany (3) and France (3) make up the remaining entries. For the full list of entries please click here.

Desert Encounter, trained in Newmarket by David Simcock, is the highest rated. It would be a return to the Middle East for the gelding, who ran twice at Meydan in March. Simcock said, “The owner is very keen to run Desert Encounter in the Bahrain International Trophy. We will see how he is when he returns from Toronto but the Bahrain race is definitely under consideration.”

The Canadian International result indicates the calibre of horse likely to take part in the Bahrain race with both the second, Alounak (from Germany), and the fourth, Pivoine (from Britain), also engaged.

Style Presa is one of the French-trained entries and her participation would ensure keen interest from Japan as she runs in the colours of leading owner-breeder Teruya Yoshida, of Northern Farm.

Shaikh Salman bin Rashed al-Khalifa, Executive Director of the Rashid Equestrian & Horse Racing Club, said, “To have so many high-quality horses entered, from six different countries, in our first year is extremely exciting. We are optimistic that, by attracting the best trainers and jockeys from around the world, the Bahrain International Trophy will become a key date in the international racing calendar for many years to come.”

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