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Desert Encounter chases second straight $800,000 Pattison International title

Written by on October 9, 2019

TORONTO — Desert Encounter will be looking to defend his title Saturday at the $800,000 Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International.

Desert Encounter won last year’s race at 8/1 odds, finishing a length ahead of favourite Thundering Blue in a battle between horses from England. A victory Saturday would make the Irish-bred Desert Encounter the 1 1/2-mile turf race’s first repeat winner since Joshua Tree in 2012-’13.

Desert Encounter, the early 2-1 second pick, drew the No. 4 post in the race draw Wednesday at Woodbine Racetrack. British-bred Ziyad, the even-money favourite, will break from the No. 1 post in the six-horse field.

The field, with post, horse, jockey and early odds, includes:

1) Ziyad, Maxime Guyon, 1-1; 2) Pivoine, Robert Hornby, 10-1; 3) Nessy, Chris Landeros, 8-1; 4) Desert Encounter, Andrea Atzeni, 2-1; 5) Alounak, Clement Lecoeuvre, 6-1; and 6) Pumpkin Rumble, Eurico Rosa Da Silva, 15-1.

Desert Encounter, a seven-year-old gelding, has won three consecutive Group 3 turf stakes races, all in  England. Atzeni will ride Desert Encounter for the first time since his success here last year.

Woodbine jockey Da Silva, who’ll retire at season’s end, will chase a second International title aboard Pumpkin Rumble, the field’s oldest horse at age eight. Da Rosa captured the ’17 race aboard Bullards Alley.

And last month, the 44-year-old Da Silva rode El Tormenta, a 44/1 longshot, to a half-length win in the $1-million Grade 1 Woodbine Mile.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2019.

The Canadian Press