Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 September 2020

Godolphin put 'class' Benbatl to the test with dirt challenge at the Dubai World Cup

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor says Singspiel Stakes winner ready for crack at new surface at Meydan

Jockey Christophe Soumillon guides Benbatl to victory in the Singspiel Stakes at the Dubai World Cup in January. Antonie Robertson / The National
Jockey Christophe Soumillon guides Benbatl to victory in the Singspiel Stakes at the Dubai World Cup in January. Antonie Robertson / The National

Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor has put Benbatl to test on the dirt surface for the first time at the Dubai World Cup.

Benbatl was an impressive winner of the Group Two Singspiel Stakes on his reappearance at the Dubai World Cup Carnival’s second meeting at Meydan on January 9.

He returns to the track for a crack at the Group Two Al Maktoum Challenge in the Carnival’s Week 6 at on Thursday.

Bin Suroor said the decision to test the horse on dirt was made by the founder of the Dubai racing operation Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

“He’s in good form and worked really well,” he said. “This is a test for him to see if he can handle the dirt and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed made the decision to run him, and see if he’s going to like the dirt.

“He works very well on the all-weather Tapeta at Al Quoz [training centre], but that is Tapeta. On Thursday, it’ll be his first time on dirt, so we will see.”

Benbatl has nine wins in 19 career starts but they all have been on the turf. His nine victories also include three Group One prizes in three different continents – Meydan (Dubai Turf), Germany and Australia.

The six-year-old son of Dubawi, with earnings of $5,445,731 (Dh20m), is the highest rated horse at 125 in the Al Maktoum Challenge, Round 2.

“He needed the [Singspiel] and has improved from the race,” Bin Suroor said. “That race was just to get him fit and he is ready to try the dirt.

“There’s no excuse now that he’s had a run and is fit. He’s an easy horse to train; a proper horse who has won in England, Germany, Australia and Dubai. Just a class horse.”

Challenging him are the 2018 Dubai World Cup runner up Gronkowski, who also comes after a lung opener in the Listed The Entisar on December 5.

Gronkowski raced prominently for much of that 2,000m trip but could finish only third behind the re-opposing Military Law and Saltarin Dubai. He is expected to return fitter from that run.

Gronkowski’s trainer Salem bin Ghadayer is double handed in the race with Chiefdom, a revelation this season, having won four of his five starts, including the Dh575,000 Group Three Jebel Ali Mile in his most recent start.

The UAE 2000 Guineas that has drawn the maximum 16 runners appears to be a cracker with Bin Suroor sending out Colour Image and Laser Show.

Laser Show appears to be the one to watch after his convincing win in the Al Bastakiya Trial over 1,900m on January 23 after failing to fire in his first local start in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial.

Kevin Stott who was on the saddle in both his starts at Meydan retains the ride with Christophe Soumillon on board Colour Image.

“He is a good horse, but he needs a farther trip,” Bin Suroor said of Laser Show. “He needs at least nine furlongs and this time we’ll run him the shorter mile trip and give him a chance now that he has the visor.

“The visor really helped him and I know he can run farther [in the Al Bastakiya Trial and UAE Derby].”

Updated: February 5, 2020 04:07 PM

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