Saeed bin Suroor's stable star Benbatl will make his seasonal return at Goodwood on Saturday as the handler has targeted the Ladbrokes Celebration Mile and is hoping the ground comes up suitable for the six year old.
The son of Dubawi has been the shining light over the last few years for his handler landing three Group One races along the way in Germany, Australia and the UAE all on turf.
However, in the last year the horse has shown his versatility when switching to the dirt in preparation for the richest race in the world, the Saudi Cup.
Benbatl back in February landed a Group Two at Meydan on his first run on the dirt before running a huge race to be third in the inaugural $20 million Saudi Cup.
Having missed out on big races this season such as the Prix Jacques le Marois and the Juddmonte International, he is now set to kick start his campaign in a lesser grade.
(Credit ATR) “He’s training well, he worked well on the Limekilns the other day and he’s ready now for a race,” said Bin Suroor.
“We’re looking forward to seeing him run, but he will only run if the ground is not soft.
“York just came a little soon and we thought it might be too soft as well. We’ve tried him on it before, he doesn’t handle soft.”
Benbatl could take on the Royal Ascot winner Sir Busker for William Knight who was last seen at York being beaten by a head in a strongly ran handicap.
William Knight said: “It’s a chancy entry. There’s a bit of rain around in the week, so we’ll see what happens.
“He’s come out of his race particularly well, which surprised me as it looked like he’d had a hard race. He’s bouncing today.
“It’s too early to say whether he’ll run or not, but if it’s soft ground, then we might chance it.”
Other runners that could make up the field include Century Dream, Regal Reality, Duke Of Hazzard, Positive, Escobar and Dark Vision.
The final declarations for the race will be on Thursday morning.