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Benbatl retires after stellar career

Benbatl – a stalwart of the Saeed bin Suroor stable – has been retired to take up stallion duties in Japan.

The winner of 11 of his 25 starts over five years in training, the Dubawi seven-year-old won three Group Ones on three different continents – the Dubai Turf at Meydan, the Grosser Dallmayr Preis in Munich and the Ladbrokes Stakes in Australia.

A host of other top-class efforts adorn his CV – including his second to Winx in the Cox Plate and third on dirt to Maximum Security in the inaugural running of the Saudi Cup.

Bin Suroor told the Godolphin website: “Benbatl was a great horse for Godolphin, winning many important races throughout the world including Group One contests in Dubai, Germany and Australia.

“He was the ultimate professional in everything he did, which made him an easy horse to train. Everyone at Godolphin Stables will miss him – but he has a very good pedigree, and we are looking forward to seeing how he performs in his new career.”

Benbatl earned nearly £6million in prize-money in his career, and in September won the Joel Stakes at Newmarket for the second time.

His last run came in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day, when he was ninth to Baaeed.

Alcohol Free one of the highlights for Murphy in another championship season

Oisin Murphy has enjoyed another fine season, with his 153 winners sealing a third jockeys’ championship. Here, we take a look at five of his high-profile domestic successes in 2021:

Alcohol Free – Sussex Stakes, Goodwood.

Oisin Murphy punches the air after winning the Sussex Stakes on Alcohol Free
Oisin Murphy punches the air after winning the Sussex Stakes on Alcohol Free (John Walton/PA)

Andrew Balding’s star filly has provided Murphy with some great days – but her victory in the Sussex Stakes against the boys gave him plenty of pleasure, and rightly so. Up against 2000 Guineas and St James’s Palace winner Poetic Flare, Breeders’ Cup Mile victor Order Of St George, her Falmouth Stakes conqueror Snow Lantern and Summer Mile scorer Tilsit, Alcohol Free displayed a devastating turn of foot to give Murphy arguably his biggest thrill of the campaign.

Buzz – Cesarewitch, Newmarket

Oisin Murphy times it right on Buzz in the Cesarewitch
Oisin Murphy times it right on Buzz in the Cesarewitch (Tim Goode/PA)

There is nothing better in racing than when a long-term plan comes together and that was the case in the Cesarewitch. Nicky Henderson might be better known for his jumpers, but he was winning the race for the third time so it was perhaps quite surprising Buzz was as big as 8-1 when news got out the champion jockey had been booked weeks in advance. The grey looked to have plenty to do when Burning Victory shot clear, but Murphy had saved just enough for the closing furlong to win one of the biggest handicaps of the season.

Berkshire Shadow – Coventry Stakes, Royal Ascot

Oisin Murphy celebrates winning the Coventry Stakes on Berkshire Shadow
Oisin Murphy celebrates winning the Coventry Stakes on Berkshire Shadow (David Davies/PA)

It seems an age ago now, but the first day of Royal Ascot took place on fast ground in beautiful sunshine and Murphy got things spot on in the Coventry Stakes. A winner at Newbury on his debut, he was sent off 11-1 to remain unbeaten but had a wall of horses in front of him two furlongs out. As is typical of the Royal Ascot juvenile races, though, they had gone very fast in front – usually led by a Wesley Ward runner – and Murphy weaved his way through tired horses to hit the front close home.

Benbatl – Joel Stakes, Newmarket

Benbatl showed the fire still burns bright in the Joel Stakes
Benbatl showed the fire still burns bright in the Joel Stakes (Mike Egerton/PA)

Murphy will always hold Benbatl close to his heart given Saeed bin Suroor’s stalwart provided him with a first Royal Ascot winner in the Hampton Court Stakes way back in 2017. And the seven-year-old showed he is still capable of a high level of form at Newmarket. Narrowly denied on his return from a long absence in the Celebration Mile, the globetrotter had too much close home for some much younger rivals in the Group Two.

Starman – Duke of York Stakes, York

Starman edges out Nahaarr on his return
Starman edges out Nahaarr on his return (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

A slight setback prevented Ed Walker’s sprinter from turning up on Champions Day, meaning he was denied the crowning moment he probably deserved as he also won the July Cup and went close in the Prix Maurice de Gheest and Haydock Sprint Cup. Tom Marquand rode him in all those, but on his first run of the season he was claimed to ride Nahaarr for his boss William Haggas, meaning Murphy stepped in. The two fought out the finish with Starman just prevailing.

Newmarket victor Benbatl set for QEII date at Ascot

A second tilt at the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot is the most likely next objective for Benbatl following his return to winning ways at Newmarket last week.

A Group One winner in Dubai, Germany and Australia, Saeed bin Suroor’s stable stalwart returned from almost a year on the sidelines with a narrow defeat in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood last month.

Bidding for his second Joel Stakes success over the Rowley Mile on Friday, Benbatl proved he is no back number with a popular victory and he could now head for Qipco Champions Day at Ascot – provided conditions are suitable.

The seven-year-old disappointed when favourite for the 2019 QEII in heavy ground and Bin Suroor will not make the same mistake again.

“He is in very good form – he has come out of the race very fresh and happy,” said the trainer.

“The plan now is to run him in the QEII, as long as the ground suits him – he doesn’t like soft ground.

“He is entered in the Champion Stakes on Champions Day as well, so we will see.”

If Benbatl does line up at Ascot, it appears unlikely he will head for the Breeders’ Cup two weeks later, while a decision on whether he will return as an eight-year-old in 2022 will not be made until a later date.

Bin Suroor added: “He will have one more race this year and we will see how he runs before we decide about next year.”

Benbatl digs deep to regain Joel Stakes title

Benbatl returned to winning form with a gutsy success in the Unibet “You’re On” Joel Stakes at Newmarket.

Saeed bin Suroor’s popular seven-year-old had not got his head in front since winning a Meydan Group Two in February 2020, although he had been limited to just three runs in the intervening period – including when just edged out by Kameko in this mile contest last year.

Partnered by Oisin Murphy, Benbatl was settled in second as Pogo set a testing pace up front, with the front-runner coming up the stands side while Benbatl stayed a little wider in the middle of the track.

Pogo looked to have stolen the advantage at one point. But when Murphy gave the signal, 13-8 chance Benbatl hit top gear to edge in front a furlong out and eventually prevail by three-quarters of a length in a new track record time.

Pogo kept on gamely for second – with 11-8 favourite Master Of The Seas, sporting the first colours of Godolphin while Benbatl was in the second-string silks, staying on for third.

Benbatl, who was winning the race for a second time after also triumphing in 2019, is now 10-1 from 16s for next month’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot with Paddy Power – while the same firm go 12-1 about his Champion Stakes chance and make him a 5-1 shot from 8s for next year’s Dubai World Cup at Meydan.

Oisin Murphy celebrates after Benbatl's win
Oisin Murphy celebrates after Benbatl’s win (Mike Egerton/PA)

Murphy hailed Benbatl as “the horse of a lifetime” after winning a seventh race on the Dubawi entire, with the duo’s first success having come in the 2017 Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot.

He said: “He’s been a machine for a number of years.

“He gave me my first ever Royal Ascot winner. We’re in 2021 now – four years later – and he’s still winning Group Twos.

“He is the horse of a lifetime. When he won this race in 2019 he ran to a rating of 125.

“He’s one of the best horses I’ve ridden, and I’m thrilled that we’ve got him back on track. They’ve done a super job at the stable to produce him year in, year out.

“Outside of Andrew Balding, Saeed is probably my biggest supporter. Winning these black-type races is what it’s all about.”

Benbatl on his way to victory
Benbatl on his way to victory (Mike Egerton/PA)

Bin Suroor felt Benbatl was unlucky not to win on his seasonal bow in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood last month, but was thrilled to see him back in the winner’s enclosure.

He said: “He’s a tough horse that always tries his best. He’s won this race twice now and has won big races in Germany, Australia, Dubai and England.

“He is the horse that is leading the stable. We follow him really! We have had a lot of fun with him.

“He missed the break at Goodwood. I spoke to Oisin immediately after the race and he said ‘if I hadn’t missed the break, I would have won’.

“We’ll keep the options open for him. It could be Champions Day, but we’ll talk to Sheikh Mohammed and make a plan for him.

“It could be the Breeders’ Cup, we’ll see.”

Godolphin aces in Joel Stakes showdown

Benbatl and Master Of The Seas clash in a fascinating renewal of the Unibet “You’re On” Joel Stakes at Newmarket on Friday.

The pair are both owned by Godolphin but represent different stables, with Saeed bin Suroor training Benbatl and Master Of The Seas in the care of the red-hot Charlie Appleby.

They are also from completely different generations, with Benbatl, who has performed with great credit all over the world, firmly in the older horse bracket, while Master Of The Seas has been off since finishing runner-up in the 2000 Guineas to Poetic Flare.

Benbatl returned from almost a year off to be narrowly beaten in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood and he can be expected to come on for the run.

“He has done well since his last race and he’s in good form,” said Bin Suroor.

“He ran a big race in the Celebration Mile after missing the break from the stalls.

“This has been his target since Goodwood and his last piece of work was very good.

“It’s going to be a good race, but we are looking to see a big run from him.”

Master Of The Seas (far side) was caught close home by Poetic Flare (white) in the Guineas
Master Of The Seas (far side) was caught close home by Poetic Flare (white) in the Guineas (David Davies/PA)

Appleby is chasing another big prize having won the Derby and King George with Adayar, Irish Derby, Grand Prix de Paris and St Leger with Hurricane Lane and a host of valuable prizes in North America last weekend.

Appleby expects him to come forward for the run, with bigger prizes on the horizon.

“Master Of The Seas was unfortunate to meet with a setback after the 2,000 Guineas but his preparation into this has gone well and we are very pleased with him,” Appleby told www.godolphin.com.

“There will be improvement to come on whatever he does here as we have an eye on the Breeders’ Cup or Champions Day afterwards.”

Andrew Balding has a fascinating new recruit
Andrew Balding has a fascinating new recruit (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Andrew Balding runs an interesting new recruit in Queen Supreme.

She was a top-class mare in South Africa, winning at the highest level, but faces a baptism of fire on her UK debut.

She has the assistance of Ryan Moore in the saddle and the rider told Betfair: “This is her first run since January, but she was a Grade One winner in South Africa when trained by Mike De Kock.

“She would have had a tough trip over here and would have had to spend time in quarantine. She’s running against two very good horses in Master Of The Seas and Benbatl so it’s a tough ask, but we’ll see how she goes.”

Roger Varian’s Laneqash, the consistent Sir Busker, previous Queen Anne winner Accidental Agent, Charlie Hills’ Pogo and Marcus Tregoning’s Perotto, who ran at Goodwood on Wednesday, complete the field.

Benbatl bids to reclaim Joel Stakes

Godolphin stars Benbatl and Master Of The Seas will lock horns in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket.

Benbatl was a runaway winner of Friday’s Group Two contest in 2019, and finished third behind Kameko when defending his crown 12 months ago.

Saeed bin Suroor’s charge was narrowly denied by Lavender’s Blue on his return from almost a year on the sidelines in last month’s Celebration Mile at Goodwood, and bids to get back on the winning trail on his return to the Rowley Mile under Oisin Murphy.

Bin Suroor also had the option of saddling the improving Real World, but he has not been declared.

The biggest threat to Benbatl appears to be the Charlie Appleby-trained Master Of The Seas, to whom he must concede 4lb.

The Dubawi colt won the Craven Stakes over the course and distance in the spring, but has been sidelined by injury since being beaten a short head by Poetic Flare in the 2000 Guineas in May.

William Knight saddles the ultra-consistent Sir Busker, while Eve Johnson Houghton runs stable stalwart Accidental Agent.

Pogo (Charlie Hills), Queen Supreme (Andrew Balding), Laneqash (Roger Varian) and Perotto (Marcus Tregoning) complete the field.

2000 Guineas runner-up Master Of The Seas is a second Godolphin challenger in the Joel Stakes
2000 Guineas runner-up Master Of The Seas is a second Godolphin challenger in the Joel Stakes (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Group Two honours are also up for grabs in the preceding Rockfel Stakes, for which 10 juvenile fillies are set to go to post.

Leading contenders include Balding’s Majestic Glory, who bids to complete a Newmarket hat-trick following successive wins on the July Course – most recently landing the Group Three Sweet Solera Stakes.

Ralph Beckett and Frankie Dettori team up with July Course maiden winner Girl On Film, while Jumbly puts her unbeaten record on the line for Roger Charlton following victories at Leicester and Kempton.

George Boughey’s Oscula is also in the mix.

Beckett’s Yorkshire Oaks runner-up Albaflora sets a lofty standard in the Group Three Princess Royal Stakes.

Her rivals include Forbearance from the red-hot stable of Jessica Harrington, Hugo Palmer’s Golden Pass and Appleby’s Sayyida.

Master Of The Seas heads Godolphin possibles for Joel Stakes

Master Of The Seas, Benbatl and Real World give the Godolphin team a strong hand in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket on Friday.

Winner of the Craven Stakes over the course and distance in the spring, the Charlie Appleby-trained Master Of The Seas could make his first competitive appearance since filling the runner-up spot in the 2000 Guineas.

The Dubawi colt was beaten just a short head by Poetic Flare in the Rowley Mile Classic – and while he has missed much of the season through injury, he appears to be closing in on a comeback.

Saeed bin Suroor has the choice of saddling Benbatl and/or Real World.

Benbatl would be running in the Group Two contest for a third time, having won impressively in 2019 and finished third behind Guineas hero Kameko in last year’s renewal.

The seven-year-old can be expected to improve from his narrow defeat in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood considering it was his first appearance in 11 months.

His stablemate Real World, meanwhile, is unbeaten in three starts this season and remains open to further improvement.

John and Thady Gosden’s Sovereign Stakes winner Megallan also features among 11 confirmations.

The other Group Two on Friday’s card is the Rockfel Stakes, for which 16 juvenile fillies have stood their ground.

Likely contenders include Andrew Balding’s Majestic Glory, who is on a hat-trick following successive wins on the July Course, and the unbeaten Jumbly from Roger Charlton’s yard.

The Ger Lyons-trained Juncture is a potential challenger from Ireland, while George Boughey’s tough-as-teak Oscula sets the standard on ratings after a busy campaign.

Older fillies and mares get their chance to shine over a mile and a half in the Group Three Princess Royal Stakes, in which Ralph Beckett’s Albaflora could bid to get back on the winning trail after filling the runner-up spot behind Snowfall in the Yorkshire Oaks.

Bin Suroor considering Wildenstein run for Real World

Real World could be heading to France for his next outing with Saeed bin Suroor considering the Prix Daniel Wildenstein on Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe weekend.

The improving four-year-old won the Royal Hunt Cup and has followed up in Listed company at Newbury and a Group Three at York.

He holds an entry in the Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket but stablemate Benbatl looks likely to take in that race, ground permitting.

“It’s more likely that Benbatl will run in the Joel Stakes, while we’ll maybe take Real World to France for the Group Two over a mile, the Wildenstein,” said Bin Suroor.

“As for Ascot (Champions Day), we’ll have to see what the ground is like. It’s more likely for Benbatl. Real World is a horse for the future and he’ll be even better next season.

“Both of them are in good form and are working well.

“With Benbatl, we know he doesn’t want soft ground but he doesn’t want it too firm either. Good ground is what he wants.”

Benbatl (far side) was just edged out by Lavender's Blue at Goodwood (
Benbatl (far side) was just edged out by Lavender’s Blue at Goodwood (Adam Davy/PA)

Benbatl made his return to action at Goodwood in the Celebration Mile after almost a year off and was beaten in a photo finish by Lavender’s Blue after Oisin Murphy’s mount missed the break and then made ground around the outside of the field.

Bin Suroor added: “He missed the break at Goodwood and that cost him, Oisin said if you ran that race 10 more times he’d win it every time but he still ran well and showed he’s a good horse.

Benbatl in good shape following pleasing Goodwood return

Benbatl has the option of going for a second victory in Newmarket’s Joel Stakes following his pleasing return to action at Goodwood on Saturday.

Saeed bin Suroor’s triple Group One winner recorded a brilliant success in the 2019 running of the Group Two contest, while he finished a close third in last year’s renewal behind 2000 Guineas hero Kameko.

The seven-year-old made his first appearance since then in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood and was beaten just a nose by Lavender’s Blue to suggest his ability remains very much intact.

Bin Suroor said: “He came back from the race very good – he’s happy and fresh.

“I think there is an option to run him in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket.”

Benbatl is entered in both the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot in October, but ground conditions are likely to determine whether he makes an appearance on Champions Day.

“Usually the ground has gone soft by October time, so we will see. Good ground will be better for him,” Bin Suroor added.

Real World and Marco Ghiani winning the Strensall Stakes at York
Real World and Marco Ghiani winning the Strensall Stakes at York (Nigel French/PA)

Another potential Champions Day aspirant in the trainer’s care is Real World, who was last seen completing a hat-trick for the season the Group Three Strensall Stakes at York.

Bin Suroor said: “He’s doing very good. I’m very happy with him.

“The QEII will be an option and he will also be entered in the Joel Stakes (September 24).”

Lavender’s Blue pips Benbatl to spark Goodwood Celebration

Lavender’s Blue got up in the final strides to deny Benbatl in the tote Celebration Mile at Goodwood.

Trained locally by Amanda Perrett and ridden by Rob Hornby, the 20-1 chance was the lowest-rated of the nine runners.

Settled in the rear by Rob Hornby, she looked to have plenty to do as Benbatl hit the front with over a furlong to run.

The multiple Group One winner took a couple of lengths out of the field and looked sure to collect on his first run for almost a year, but the only mare in the field began to reel him in.

Lavender’s Blue was closing with every stride and in the shadow of the post she hit the front, prevailing by a short head from Benbatl.

Perrett last won the race 19 years ago with Tillerman in 2002.

“She’s really deserved that as we’ve set her some stiff tasks the last few times,” said Perrett.

“The fillies’ division is really strong this year and that is why we weren’t too worried about taking on the opposite sex today.”

She went on: “Her Group Two win has been long overdue, so I’m just really glad to get it done today.

“Her form is very strong. She’s very consistent, she loves top of the ground and if you look at her three-year-old form, she was mixing it with Oaks fillies, so she deserved a big one.

“We just need to finish it off now by winning the Sun Chariot, which is where she’ll go next at Newmarket and we’ll hope for fast ground.”

Lavender’s Blue was bred by her owner Benny Andersson of ABBA fame.

Perrett added: “I’m delighted for Mr Andersson, her owner/breeder. You couldn’t wish to train for a better man and it’s great for him, especially as he loves Goodwood.

“With ABBA releasing more music, it’s all happening for him.”

Benbatl will improve for Celebration reappearance – Bin Suroor

Saeed bin Suroor expects Benbatl to improve for his first run of the season in the tote Celebration Mile at Goodwood.

A Group One winner in Germany, Australia and Dubai, the seven-year-old has not been seen since being beaten into third by last year’s 2000 Guineas winner Kameko in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket in September.

That was also his first run for over 200 days, after he had finished a creditable third in the Saudi Cup on dirt behind the American specialists.

“Benbatl had a nice break earlier in the season and we decided not to take him out to Dubai because he had a hard season last year,” Bin Suroor told www.godolphin.com.

“This looks a good race for him over a trip that suits.

“He has been going well at home and is ready to get his campaign started, although we expect him to come on for his first run in almost a year.”

Benbatl will be reunited with Oisin Murphy who rode him to Royal Ascot success back in 2017.

“I love the horse and he seems in really good shape. He’s very healthy and very generous in his gallops,” said the champion jockey.

“I know he’s been off for a while and you’d expect him to improve for the run, but he’s a superstar and at his best he’ll take a lot of beating.

“I hope the weather is kind, he doesn’t want slow ground, fast ground is key to seeing him at his best.

“It’s exciting. I can’t tell you how much I adore the horse. He was my first Royal Ascot winner, I rode him in the Derby when he didn’t stay but some of his figures throughout his career have been outstanding.

“I’m very excited, I know it’s only a Group Two but I adore the horse,” he told Racing TV.

Happy Power has winning form at Goodwood
Happy Power has winning form at Goodwood (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Andrew Blading’s Happy Power is a Group Three winner at Goodwood over seven furlongs and while the trainer admits that is his preferred trip, he is more than capable of running well over a mile.

“Seven furlongs is his ideal distance, but he’s run very good races at this distance in the past and has been fourth in a Sussex Stakes. The most relevant thing is he likes Goodwood,” said Balding.

“He seems in good form and I hope he’d run well.”

Chindit won the Champagne Stakes last year and reappeared with victory in the Greenham Stakes this term.

He has been fifth in three Group Ones since – most recently the Prix Jacques le Marois – and Hannon is hoping a drop in class can see him return to winning ways.

“He’s been running OK. He’s looked just slightly below that very top level, he’s finished fifth in three Group Ones in a row but he’s run with huge credit, the last race particularly. Maybe he didn’t stay that last half-furlong,” Hannon told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast.

“An easy mile should be right up his street, there’s no Poetic Flare, there’s no Palace Pier. He’s been running in the very top mile races and this is a good chance for him.

“I think he was a little out of his ground in the Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes, but he had every chance in the Jacques le Marois and there were no excuses apart from not running fast enough.

“He’s in training next year, he’s a very good horse but he just looks 3lb short of the very top level. He might find that in the next month or the next year.”

Marcus Tregoning’s Perotto was a Royal Ascot winner in June and was not beaten far by Megallan in a Group Three at Salisbury last time out.

This represents another step up in grade but his profile suggests he is still improving.

“The handicapper thought his last run was his best so I think he deserves a crack at this,” said Tregoning.

“He’s very versatile, goes on any ground and the horses are running well so hopefully he should run well.”

Charlie Hills runs two in Pogo and the three-year-old Mutasaabeq, the 2019 winner Duke Of Hazzard represents Paul and Oliver Cole, Frankie Dettori rides Stormy Antarctic for Ed Walker with Lavender’s Blue representing Amanda Perrett.

Bin Suroor leaning towards Windsor for Benbatl return

Saeed bin Suroor is favouring the Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor on August 28 for Benbatl’s comeback.

The multiple Group One winner has not been seen since finishing third to Kameko in the Joel Stakes last September.

He holds an entry in Goodwood’s Celebration Mile at the end of the month, but Bin Suroor, who has won the event eight times in the past, is thinking the Windsor race could be a better spot for his first outing of the season.

Benbatl winning the 2017 Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot
Benbatl winning the 2017 Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot (Brian Lawless/PA)

“Benbatl is nearly ready to run again. He’s working well and is not far away,” said the Godolphin trainer.

“He’s entered at Goodwood in the Celebration Mile and there’s also a Group Three at Windsor (Winter Hill Stakes).

“At this stage it’s more than likely he’ll go to Windsor, but we’ll see.

“He’s still showing his ability on the gallops and with every piece of work he is improving.”

Real World to switch up in class after Ascot success

Impressive Royal Hunt Cup winner Real World is to be stepped up in class following his Ascot romp.

Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, the four-year-old was having just his sixth start – and first over a mile – in one of the most competitive handicaps of the season.

However, ridden confidently by leading apprentice Marco Ghiani, sponsored by geegeez.co.uk, Real World was prominent on the far side throughout before pulling almost five lengths clear.

“We’ll keep the options open for him. Maybe we’ll take him to Newbury for a Listed or a Group race,” said Bin Suroor.

“He’s a nice horse, definitely one for the future. He’s come back good, happy and fresh.

“Not many win the Hunt Cup by five lengths, he’s a class horse and the way he finished his race bodes well for the future. Also I want to mention the jockey, Marco, he gave him a good ride.

“That was his first race over a mile, we know he stays further, so races over a mile or a mile and a quarter are fine.”

Bin Suroor fancied his chances of a second winner at the meeting with Stunning Beauty in the Kensington Palace Stakes – but the stalls opened before Silvestre de Sousa could take her blindfold off.

“You could hear Silvestre saying he wasn’t ready, but she got left,” said the trainer.

“It’s happened, accidents happen in racing. She’s back, she’ll have a stalls test and will be fine. We’ll have to see what the BHA say about it.

“She was third-favourite, she had a good chance. We’ll look for a nice race for her now.”

Stable stalwart Benbatl is back in training with an end-of-season campaign mooted, as is the promising Military March, who had been briefly one of the favourites for last year’s Derby having finished fourth in the 2000 Guineas.

Benbatl has been a grand servant for Godolphin
Benbatl has been a grand servant for Godolphin (Nigel French/PA)

Benbatl has been absent since September and was favourite for the Dubai World Cup before it was announced he would not be heading to Meydan.

“Benbatl is good, he’s in full training, in good condition and looks really well,” said Bin Suroor.

“So far, if all goes to plan, he might be back by the end of August.

“We’ll see if we end up travelling with him after he has had a run or two in Europe, then we’ll decide. The Summer Mile might be an option.

“Military March is also back in full training, but it might be September time before he is back in a race. Meydan will be his aim after he’s had one or two races here first.”

Benbatl camp eye European campaign

Benbatl will miss both the Dubai Carnival and Saudi Cup this year, in favour of a European campaign.

The Godolphin star had been favourite for this year’s Dubai World Cup, having proved his effectiveness on dirt last season with a win in the second round of the Al Maktoum Challenge and when third in the Saudi Cup.

The son of Dubawi is now a seven-year-old entire – but as yet there are no plans to send him to stud.

He is a winner of 10 of his 22 races, including Group Ones in Australia, Germany and Dubai – and the aim appears to be to add a top-level victory in the UK to his CV.

“Benbatl will not run in Dubai or Saudi Arabia this year – we’ll keep him for a European campaign and look to get him out in May,” said trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

“He’s still a good horse, but this year we are looking for better results from him. Last year didn’t go his way – the ground never seemed right, (and) there is no point running him on soft.

“He’s not going to stud just yet, anyway. We’ve got him for this year, then we’ll keep options open.

“Everything over a mile, nine furlongs and a mile and a quarter is suitable for him, that’s what we think.”

Soft ground scuppers Benbatl’s Ascot plans

Saeed bin Suroor has been left cursing the weather which has forced him to rule Benbatl out of Qipco Champions Day at Ascot.

The multiple Group One winner was being prepared for a crack at either the Champion Stakes over 10 furlongs or the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over a mile – in which he ran last year.

Benbatl was sent off 7-2 favourite for the QEII 12 months ago but trailed home last of the 14 runners, and Bin Suroor did not want to run him on very soft ground again on Saturday.

Instead, he will be shipped back to Dubai for the Carnival – with the World Cup once more an aim, a race for which he was among the favourites this year before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

“There was no point running him at Ascot (this weekend) – we ran him last year, and he hated it,” said Bin Suroor.

“We were keen to run, (and) he’d been working well, but we know he doesn’t like soft ground.

“He won’t go to the Breeders’ Cup. We’ll take him back to Dubai, prepare him for races out there for him. We’ve had a bit of a wasted season.

“Saudi Arabia is (also) one of the options for him, like last year.”

Benbatl made his debut on dirt in the inaugural Saudi Cup in February, and finished third to Maximum Security.