Saeed bin Suroor has explained that his star runner Benbatl will come on a huge amount for his first run of the season in the Group Two Joel Stakes, with the handler saying his six year old lacked a little bit of race fitness.
Benbatl was favourite for the event on Friday and 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 had his first run of the season in the race he won last year and if it was not for the 2000 Guineas Kameko he may have landed the race.
(Credit ATR) “He’s good after the race – which is the main thing,” said Bin Suroor.
“Talking to Frankie after the race, he just said he needed it and that he would improve a lot for it.
“He’s entered in both races at Ascot on Champions Day, the QEII and the Champion Stakes, and we’ll make a decision closer to the day.
“But we know, come that time of year, that the ground will probably be soft.”
Bin Suroor added: “We took a chance last year and ran him on it – but he was last, so we won’t do that.
“We’ll keep him entered – and if the ground is good we will run him.”