Encountered (Churchill) wins the Gr.3 Sa Sa Purse at Sha Tin

Hong Kong Stakes-Winner for Churchill

Irish bred Churchill gelding Encountered (5g Churchill x Enrol, by Pivotal) has been working nicely through his grades in Hong Kong and landed his first Black Type win on Sunday when taking out the Group III Sa Sa Ladies Purse (1800m) at Sha Tin.

Trained by Manfred Man and ridden by Derek Leung, he surged into the race coming down the straight and dashed clear to win by more than a length over Starspangledbanner gelding Champion Dragon.

His overall record stands at eight wins and five placings from 21 starts and his trainer plans to add Encountered to his list of entries for Hong Kong International Day in December.

Man, who also prepares the world’s top-ranked sprinter and leading G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) contender Lucky Sweynesse, was unsure as to where Encountered, would head next.

“I will look at the programme first, I don’t know yet,” Man said in response to whether either the G2 BOCHK Private Wealth Jockey Club Mile (1600m) or the G2 BOCHK Jockey Club Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin November were viable options.

“I think he could handle 2000 metres – the horse makes me feel excited. He’s an easy horse to train. I think he will still improve.

Encountered was originally a Tattersalls October Yearling Sale purchase for 160,000 guineas and was sent to Hong Kong after two starts in the UK that included a win at Doncaster in 2021.

He is a half-brother to Group II winner Royal Scotsman and is the second stakes-winner among four winners from four foals to race out of stakes-placed Pivotal mare Enrol.

Encountered is the 15th stakes-winner for Churchill, who recently sired his first Australian Group I winner in Attrition and is covering his sixth season in Australia at a fee of $22,000.

Churchill will have a Melbourne Cup runner on Tuesday with the Chris Waller trained import More Felons (IRE) (5g Churchill x Pivotalia, by Pivotal) set to take his place with Jamie Kah to ride. Has had only the one run here for a half length fifth in the Geelong Cup.