Kameko Set To Take On Benbatl In Joel Stakes On Friday

Joel Stakes

The Andrew Balding trained 2000 Guineas winner Kameko is set to drop back in class on Friday and take on Saeed bin Suroor's Benbatl in the Group Two Joel Stakes at Newmarket.

Having been a Group One winner as a juvenile, Kameko on his seasonal reappearance as a three year old ripped apart an even better field in the 2000 Guineas, showing some serious pace to beat the other runners which included champion two year old Pinatubo.

He was stepped up in trip for the Epsom Derby and with many thinking the horse would not stay and he didn't as he could only finish a tiring fourth.

Stepping back down to a mile for the Sussex Stakes, with two furlongs out he looked to be travelling the best of the pack but getting no run and running into other horses, he could not unleash his challenge.

He was tried last time out in a hot Juddmonte International where again the step back up in trip did not suit him and the penny has now dropped that the mile is the distance he should be raced over.

Benbatl is currently 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 is now set to kick start his campaign in a the race he won last term.

There are currently eight who could take to the field in the Group Two event and Top Rank is the third favourite for James Tate and has a huge chance of outrunning his odds.

The four year old has really hit the ground running this term and looks a highly progressive colt having won on his seasonal debut at Thirsk after almost a year off and then backing that up with a narrow third at York in a hot handicap that has seen he form franked since.

Top Rank last time out showed exactly how good he can be over a mile, taking the Group Three Superior Mile Stakes at Haydock and now his handler has put up some big targets for him over the next few months.

Adding further quality are Regal Reality for Sir Michael Stoute, the Roger Varian trained Zabeel Prince, Richard Hannon's Urban Icon, last time out winner Tilsit and Duke Of Hazzard.