Encosta Diablo Back on Track in Singapore

The Pencarrow bred stakes winner Encosta Diablo showed that he is closing on the form that saw him win four races in New Zealand when taking his first Singapore victory in Friday night’s S$55,000 Open Benchmark 67 (1600m) on the Polytrack at Kranji.

The Mark Walker trained son of Encosta de Lago (ex Devil's Lair, by Sir Tristram) had ten Singapore starts coming into Friday’s race, with three of those seeing him run into the placings.

The five-year-old has a long history of foot issues which has impeded his progress, but Walker hopes those problems have now been dealt with.

“He had a lot of feet trouble, that was why his form was bad,” said Walker.

“The farriers here are just first class. Paul Summers and Gary Morley have done a magic job with him. Without their expertise, it’s unlikely he would have even raced.”

Friday night’s race saw Encosta Diablo settle mid-field under jockey Manoel Nunes and improve steadily from the 600 metre mark before producing a strong late finish to run down rival Ultimate Warrior to win by a length.

“It would seem the blinker-pacifiers have done the job,” said Walker. “It’s hard to say if he’s more of a polytrack horse after tonight’s win as all his form has been on grass back home.

“Maybe the circumstances favoured him tonight. He seems to like a bit of distance and we will now look to a 1700 metre race on the Polytrack on Friday 24 May."

Encosta Diablo was bred by Peter and Philip Vela and was purchased by David Ellis from Pencarrow Stud at New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2009 Karaka Premier Sale for $600,000.

The son of Encosta de Lago won two of his three starts at two in New Zealand, including the Listed Welcome Stakes. He then won his first two starts at three before running fourth in the Listed Ray Coupland Stakes and fifth in the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas.

From the Sir Tristram mare Devil's Lair, Encosta Diablo is a half-brother to the Group 1 winner and NZB Filly of the Year Vapour Trail and Group 2 winner Santagostino. He is also a half-brother to Lane Cove, dam of the Sgp-3 winner and current Singapore stakes performer Speedy Cat.