Kameko to clash with returning Benbatl in Joel Stakes

Andrew Balding’s 2000 Guineas winner Kameko faces off against Benbatl – who returns to defend his title in the Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket.

Friday’s Group Two contest has attracted a high-class field, with James Tate’s improving Top Rank and Charlie Hills’ unexposed Tilsit also among the eight declared.

Things have not entirely gone to plan for Kameko since his Classic victory, failing to stay in the Derby and then meeting trouble in running at Goodwood.

He was no match for Ghaiyyath at York last time out over 10 furlongs, and connections are keen to see him back over a mile.

Benbatl has not run since a creditable third in the inaugural Saudi Cup on dirt back in February. He was declared for the Celebration Mile at Goodwood but withdrawn on the morning of the race because of soft ground, and his trainer Saeed bin Suroor will no doubt be anxiously watching the skies again.

Top Rank has been beaten just once in his six races to date, having seen off My Oberon in a Group Three at Haydock last time out, while Tilsit also got the better of that same rival in controversial circumstances when causing interference at Goodwood.

Adding further quality are Regal Reality, Zabeel Prince, Urban Icon and Duke Of Hazzard.

A field of five for the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes includes Aidan O’Brien’s Monday, a Listed winner last time out, and David Loughnane’s Santosha – who blew her chance in the Lowther with a slow start.

Isabella Giles is another with claims in the Group Two.

William Haggas’ Sea Of Faith is back out again quickly in the Princess Royal Muhaarar Stakes, having won in France last weekend.

Antonia De Vega, Alpinista, Franconia, Katara and Queen Daenerys complete the six-strong field for the wide-open Group Three.

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