Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 7 July 2020

Benbatl leads Godolphin charge at second meeting of Dubai World Cup Carnival

The 2018 winner of Singspiel Stakes repeats the trick on Thursday by dominating race at Meydan

Godolphin’s Benbatl was set to start as favourite for the $12 million (Dh44m) race at the Dubai World Cup.. Antonie Robertson / The National
Godolphin’s Benbatl was set to start as favourite for the $12 million (Dh44m) race at the Dubai World Cup.. Antonie Robertson / The National

Benbatl led the Godolphin charge in the Dubai World Cup Carnival’s second fixture with an impressive win in the Group Two Singspiel Stakes at Meydan on Thursday.

The six-year-old-son of Dubawi outclassed his four rivals on his return to Meydan for the first time in two years.

Benbatl also won the race in 2018, before going on to claim the $6million Dubai Turf at the Dubai World Cup that same year.

“He ran really well,” said Benbatl’s handler Saeed bin Suroor. “I’m happy with him. He showed plenty of speed and was travelling really good.

“It didn’t matter about the ground [softened by a drizzle]. The way he finished his race made me really happy. He was around 90 per cent [fit]. There could be options [for him].”

Jockey Christophe Soumillon sent him to the front straightaway and dictated the pace throughout the 1,800-metre distance on turf to win from Salem bin Ghadayer’s newcomer For The Top and Mike de Kock’s Majestic Mambo, by four and-three-quarter lengths and a head, respectively.

“He went to the front really easily,” Soumillon said. “I was quite surprised to see someone chasing me turning [into the stretch] because the pace was quite good.

“I was like, ‘what’s going on here,’ but then my horse had a good blow. He really dominated the race. It was a good run for him. He always runs good fresh, but it’s nice to build on this and get him as fit as possible for the big race.”

Godolphin racked up four winners on the night. Platinum Star won the seventh race to complete a double for Bin Suroor and Soumillon, and in-between, Zakouski and Key Victory were successful for trainer Charlie Appleby under William Buick and James Doyle respectively.

Kimbear pipped Secret Ambition and North America by a bob of the head to clinch the Group Two Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1 in the most thrilling finish of the night.

Pat Dobbs had Kimbear’s head just in front as the three horses flashed past the winning post.

Richard Mullen, drawn widest of the seven runners, got North America quickly out of the gate to set the early pace.

Tadhg O’Shea atop Secret Ambition and Dobbs challenged the leader on the final 200m mark as they went head to head to the wire in a driving finish.

Commanding won a similar battle to clinch the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial and in the process avenge his defeat to Al Modayar in their previous meeting.

Mullen got the Satish Seemar-trained Comacho colt on the last stride to pip Fernando Jara on board Al Modayar by a short head. Another short head behind in third was Dark Of Night under Antonio Fresu.

“Indeed it was an exciting race for the three-year-olds and people will now start talking about the UAE Derby for him,” Seemar said of Commanding who has now won his last two starts after a debut second behind Al Modayar in November.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 09 JANUARY 2020. Horse Racing. 8th Race Meeting at Meydan Racecourse. Race 6: Thoroughbreds, Al Maktoum Challenge (Round 1), winner Nr 4, Kimbear (USA) 6 years old ridden by Patrick Dobbs and trained by Doug Waton. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Amith Passela. Section: Sport.
Kimbear pips Secret Ambition and North America to win the Group Two Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1. ​​​​Antonie Robertson / The National

“These youngsters are learning to take the distance now. Although Commanding won over the same 1,600m distance more comfortably last time the quality of the field was different.

“Tonight he won against some of the runners with experience of racing on the all-weather in the UK and here at home. Commending also didn’t have a good draw [gate 13 of the 16 runners] and he had to work harder.”

RB Money To Burn turned the field into a procession en-route to winning the opening prize of the night, the Group One Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1 for the Purebred Arabians.

Fabrice Veron on the Eric Lemartinel-trained five-year-old Majd Al Arab mare was quickly out of the gate and never looked back, winning by four and-a-quarter lengths from Cheik Roque.

Updated: January 9, 2020 10:49 PM

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