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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Talismanic and Benbatl ready to lead Godolphin charge on Dubai World Cup night

Dubai-based stables have 19 horses entered across seven races at Meydan on Saturday

Benbatl goes in the Dubai Turf, the penultimate race on Dubai World Cup night, and is one of the pre-race favourites. Erika Rasmussen for The National
Benbatl goes in the Dubai Turf, the penultimate race on Dubai World Cup night, and is one of the pre-race favourites. Erika Rasmussen for The National

After a record-breaking Dubai World Cup Carnival campaign, Godolphin will be out in force again for the grand finale US$30million race meeting on Saturday.

The racing operation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE, claimed 31 of the 62 prizes on offer for the thoroughbreds in 10 Carnival meetings this season.

Godolphin have 19 horses entered across seven races on Dubai World Cup night, including Talismanic and Thunder Snow in the flagship $10 million (Dh36.73m) Dubai World Cup.

Talismanic, trained in France by Andre Fabre, enters the race with a prep run under his belt, beating stable companion Cloth Of Stars on the polytrack at the Chantilly racecourse on March 6.

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Talismanic and Cloth Of Stars, who is entered in the $6m Dubai Sheema Classic, were both given a day-off after Monday’s workout at the Meydan racetrack.

Saeed bin Suroor, Godolphin’s longest serving trainer, is relying this year on Thunder Snow, winner of both the UAE 2000 Guineas and UAE Derby last year, to bounce back from his defeat to North America in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 in his most recent start.

“He looks very well indeed and we are very happy with him,” Bin Suroor said. “Physically, he is as good as we have had him and he has come through all three rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge, winning the middle one and finishing second in the other two.

“The third round, on Super Saturday, was run at a very fast pace, which could well happen again on Saturday. It’s not a big field, but we will still be hoping for a good draw, so (jockey) Christophe Soumillon can ride the race he wants to in a very good renewal.

“He has two Group 1 wins on turf in Europe and it would be great for the whole team if we could take one on dirt. He showed in the UAE Guineas and Derby last year, as well as three races this year, he handles it well.”

Benbatl, entered in the $6m Dubai Turf, seems to be Bin Suroor’s best chance of a prize at the meeting.

“He is a horse we have always really liked and he won on his debut at Doncaster in April and improved all year,” the Emirati said. “He was actually a very good fifth in the Derby at Epsom before winning at Royal Ascot. He has thrived in Dubai, winning his first two races in style.

“He was then badly drawn in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta on Super Saturday, when Oisin Murphy could not get any cover on him so had to race wide throughout but was only denied close home. Hopefully the draw, on Wednesday, will be kinder.”