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Passion And Glory proves Glorious winner for Bin Suroor

Passion And Glory clung on for a thrilling victory in the l’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Glorious Stakes at Goodwood.

Saeed bin Suroor’s charge was bidding to make it three from three for the season in Britain following dominant victories at Lingfield and Ascot, but faced a step up in distance and class for this mile-and-a-half Group Three.

Racing on the speed throughout in the hands of Oisin Murphy, the 2-1 chance had most of his rivals in trouble halfway up the straight and looked the most likely winner entering the final furlong.

Fox Tal attempted to make a race of it, while Jim Goldie’s admirable veteran Euchen Glen charged home from the rear down the middle of the track, but the line came in time for Passion And Glory to hold on by a neck.

Bin Suroor said: “His last three runs he improved and even today, I wasn’t sure about the ground and he handled it really well.

“Now I think I’m going to take him to Germany, Baden-Baden, for the Group One in September.

“I’ve always liked him, but there’s always been tiny problems that have stopped him. But he’s sound and he has improved from every race and he’s doing good.

“They were small injuries but they kept him out, then he was ready to run and they’d come back, but nothing major.”

On the subject of taking the Cape Cross gelding to America, Bin Suroor said: “We have to think about the Covid things in Australia, I will see, I have to think about it, in normal times I would have about four or five, but we have to think this time.”

Goldie said of Euchen Glen, who is bound for York and the Ebor: “We couldn’t quite peg back the winner, who is a progressive horse. Paul (Mulrennan) deserves a lot of credit as he nearly always gets it right. We dropped into the worst of the ground today, but imagine if we’d won the penalty would have meant carrying 10st 2lb in the Ebor.

“He wouldn’t have run with that, so there is a blessing.”

Real World in motion for Bin Suroor and Ghiani

Real World produced a decisive turn of foot to follow up his Royal Hunt Cup success in the bet365 Stakes – registered as the Steventon Stakes – at Newbury.

The Godolphin colt, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, was stuck in a pocket over a furlong out – but once he got out he quickly put the race to bed in the hands of leading apprentice Marco Ghiani, who recently rode out his claim.

Real World travelled well in the early stages as Solid Stone made the running, but the 15-8 favourite needed a gap and when it came he flew to storm past Derab and land the Listed contest by a length and a quarter.

The first two drew three and three-quarter lengths ahead of Solid Stone in third.

The victory was quick compensation for the Bin Suroor stable after Home City was demoted to second behind Tropez Power, having been first past the post in the bet365 Novice Stakes under Louis Steward. Bin Suroor missed both races as he was stuck in traffic.

A jubilant Ghiani celebrated as he passed the line, and said afterwards: “I hope I made him (Bin Suroor) happy. After I rode five lots on the gallops, I left to make sure I go here to ride this amazing horse.

“I was boxed in and had nowhere to go two furlongs out, but I think that was a good thing because it was his first time over that trip.

“He just showed what he can do and I think he did it pretty easily. That’s my first Listed winner and I tried to do the same celebration I did at Royal Ascot!

“He’s an improving horse and I think he can take another step up – wherever he goes I hope to keep the ride on him. I think this is his trip now.”

He added: “To become a good jockey you need a good horse. I think I’ve found a nice one and hopefully I can keep going. He’s my favourite horse, no doubt.”

Bin Suroor said by telephone: “He’s a nice horse and he did very well after Ascot.

“The other day he worked on the Limekilns and he was flying. He’s improving all the time.

“Anything over a mile or 10 furlongs we’ll look at, but it will be Group races – no more handicaps for him now, he won’t go for the Golden Mile (at Goodwood).”

Bin Suroor famously enjoyed a fruitful partnership with certain other Italian for the best part of 20 years and can see similarities with Ghiani and Frankie Dettori.

“I had been watching Marco for a while before I asked him to ride for me and before Ascot he had ridden a couple of winners for me,” said Bin Suroor.

“But I said to him before Ascot, ‘if you want to be a famous jockey you have to have a winner at Royal Ascot!’.

“He’s going to be one of the best, I’ve thought that for a long time and he has a good record for me (six winners from 11 rides). I had a long relationship with another Italian, though, so he’s got a long way to go yet!”

It was a sharp change in fortune for Bin Suroor after Home City in the opener.

Having his third run, the Richard Hannon-trained Tropez Power youngster crossed the line a neck behind Home City.

However, the first past the post drifted from the centre of the track over to the far rail under a right-hand drive from Steward inside the final furlong, carrying Tropez Power and Silvestre de Sousa with him. The winning distance was a neck, while Steward was given a four-day suspension for careless riding.

Hannon said after the amended result: “I wasn’t surprised and I feel for the first and Saeed. It’s lovely to win races, but not necessarily like that, although it looked like we were carried across the course a bit.

“Tropez Power came on massively for his run at Salisbury, which was a good run. I was disappointed with him at Haydock first time because I knew he was better than that. He kept trying and running on today and I think he’ll get a mile in time.”

De Sousa later registered another slightly fortunate winner when he was the beneficiary of Hayley Turner’s traffic troubles.

Silvestre De Sousa and Scaramanga (left) hold off Rodrigo Diaz
Silvestre De Sousa and Scaramanga (left) hold off Rodrigo Diaz (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Turner was due to ride the Paul Nicholls-trained Scaramanga (13-2) in the Bahrain Turf Series Handicap but got stranded, and when De Sousa’s original intended mount Call My Bluff was a non-runner, the champion National Hunt trainer called on the former champion jockey.

De Sousa kicked on two out and stole a march on the favourite Rodrigo Diaz, with Jamie Spencer meeting his own traffic from the rear and failing to get there by half a length.

“He was a nice spare to pick him, Hayley was stuck in traffic,” said De Sousa.

“He’s a horse that stays well, I was in the right place and he put the race to bed when I wanted to.”

Nicholls indicated the winner would be heading to Goodwood.

Bin Suroor eyes Dubai for Night Hunter

Saeed bin Suroor has high hopes for recent Chelmsford winner Night Hunter – but reports he may not fulfil his potential until the Dubai Carnival.

Night Hunter is a son of champion dirt horse Tapit, but the four-year-old – a half-brother to a Grade One winner in America – did not make his debut until last month.

He finished a fair third to William Haggas’ hugely promising and subsequent Listed winner Baaeed at Leicester, before opening his account on the all-weather by three and a half lengths.

“I’m happy with the way he improved from his first race to his second,” said Bin Suroor.

“He’s by Tapit, so he’s probably going to be a dirt horse, but he’s already run well on turf and won on the all-weather.

“He’s come back good from his race, but there are no plans at this moment. We’ll look for a nice race for him.”

The Newmarket trainer is happy to exercise more patience, though, in anticipation of a big winter ahead for Night Hunter.

Bin Suroor added: “I think he’s more a horse for Dubai – then we can get him on dirt – but so far he’s doing everything well.

“He’s a nice horse for the future, and I’ve always liked him. It’s why I kept him in training.”

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.”

Real deal Marco Ghiani celebrates first Royal Ascot winner

Rising star Marco Ghiani gave a jubilant celebration as he stormed to victory aboard Real World for Saeed bin Suroor in the Royal Hunt Cup.

The talented apprentice had fellow Godolphin runner Eastern World from Charlie Appleby’s yard for company as the pair blazed along on the far rail – but once Ghiani hit top gear on the 18-1 winner he shot clear.

It was all over from there, and even though 11-2 favourite Astro King tried to make late gains he was still four and three-quarter lengths adrift. Grove Ferry and Ouzo took third and fourth respectively.

Ghiani said: “He often misses the break, but to avoid that he was blindfolded and went in late.

“I managed to stay next to William Buick and at the two he was quickening away while looking at the crowd.

“He’s a bit of a baby and an improving horse with few races under his belt.

“I walked the track and hoped we would stay on the rail.

“He is an improving horse, he is still a bit of a baby.”

He added: “I want to say thank you to Stuart Williams (boss) and Mr Bin Suroor and Sheikh Mohammed.

“Thank you very much everyone.”

Real World was first - with daylight second...
Real World was first – with daylight second… (Steven Paston/PA)

Bin Suroor said: “When Marco came in to ride him I said if you want to be famous you must win on him at Royal Ascot.

“I liked him last year when we looked after him, but this year he’s started to show us something.

“He can miss the jump, but not today, and when I saw him on the bridle at halfway I thought he could win.

“He handled the ground well and I shall look at Listed or Group Three options for him.”

Chipotle sparked scenes of delight in the winner’s enclosure with victory in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes.

Starting at 22-1, the Eve Johnson Houghton-trained youngster – winner of the Brocklesby at Doncaster at the start of the season – travelled at the rear of the group on the far side of the track in the hands of Charlie Bishop, who timed it to perfection in picking off his rivals.

Dig Two was two and a quarter lengths back in second, with Boonie another head away in third. But it was another disappointing race for American trainer Wesley Ward, with his Frankie Dettori-ridden favourite Ruthin ultimately well beaten having led for a long way.

Bishop said: “I was quite keen to get a level break, but he bunny hopped when the stalls opened and I had to be patient. But I got a dream run through.

“We’ve always liked him and we never pressed any buttons when he won the Brocklesby and that race here, but at Sandown he didn’t like the soft and I didn’t give him the best of rides.

Charlie Bishop with Chipotle
Charlie Bishop with Chipotle (Steven Paston/PA)

“Eve’s a brilliant trainer and I feel quite emotional that she’s kept the faith with me.”

Johnson Houghton said: “He’s a horse that trains himself. He travels and when you ask him off he goes. He’s an absolute dude of a horse and he didn’t enjoy the soft ground at Sandown.

“All through the day I felt we couldn’t win from stall one, but then after the Hunt Cup I thought we did have a chance. Charlie had the courage to stay on the far side, and off a rattling fast pace he really picked up.”

Seas aiming to Master Meydan Classic rivals

Master Of The Seas limbers up for a potential tilt at the 2000 Guineas in the Meydan Classic in Dubai on Thursday.

The son of Dubawi looked a top-class colt in the making after winning on his first two career starts at Newmarket last summer, including a Group Two success in the Superlative Stakes in July.

Charlie Appleby’s charge, who was last seen finishing a close-up fourth in the National Stakes at the Curragh in September, is a best-priced 16-1 for the first British Classic of the year at Newmarket in May ahead of facing five rivals at Listed level at Meydan.

“Master Of The Seas is well clear on ratings and we know that he is the class horse in the race,” Appleby told www.godolphin.com.

“Any sign of last year’s performances is going to make him very hard to beat, although this is very much a prep race ahead of his European campaign.

“We were tip-toeing away with him and he was doing everything nicely at home, so I felt that I would rather give him a run at Meydan.

“We are looking at the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Hopefully he can get a nice run under his belt before heading back to Europe.”

Master Of The Seas is joined by stablemate Naval Crown, who finished third in the UAE 2000 Guineas three weeks ago.

Appleby added: “Naval Crown has race fitness behind him, having produced a creditable performance in the UAE 2000 Guineas.

“Reverting back to the turf is going to be more to his liking and, if Master Of The Seas doesn’t run up to form, Naval Crown is a horse who could pick up the pieces.”

Mayehaab, Sharp Spun, Yurman and Nibras Passion are the other hopefuls.

Appleby also saddles strong contenders in the two Group Threes on the card.

In the Nad Al Sheba Trophy, the Moulton Paddocks handler runs Ispolini, who needs to raise his game following a couple of below-par efforts so far this year.

“Ispolini has just been struggling to find his form lately – but he is a past winner of this race and any rekindling of that old form is going to put him bang there,” said Appleby.

Ispolini is one of four Godolphin representatives in the one-mile-six-furlong contest along with Saeed bin Suroor’s trio of Global Heat, Volcanic Sky and Brilliant Light.

Volcanic Sky, Global Heat and Ispolini finished second, third and fourth respectively behind the Bin Suroor-trained Dubai Future in the Meydan Cup earlier in the month.

Appleby’s Star Safari will be a hot favourite for the Dubai Millennium Stakes off the back of a course-and-distance win a fortnight ago, with Bin Suroor fielding Bedouin’s Story, Dream Castle and Royal Marine.

“Coming back in trip doesn’t concern us with Star Safari as he broke the track record for this distance at the Carnival last year,” said Appleby.

“He came out of his recent handicap win in good form and we are hoping that he can run a big race in this company.”

Space Blues proves out of this world

Space Blues made a winning return to action after a six-month break with a narrow victory in the stc Turf Sprint in Riyadh.

Winner of all four of his four starts in the summer, culminating in a first Group One success in the Prix Maurice de Gheest, the Charlie Appleby-trained five-year-old looks set for another lucrative campaign.

Krispen made the early running and was pressed by the former Richard Hannon-trained Urban Icon, who set sail for home in the straight.

Space Blues shrugged off his stablemate Glorious Journey, but had to knuckle down for William Buick to catch Urban Icon and last year’s winner, Dark Power.

He managed it in the shadow of the post to score a shade cosily in the end from Dark Power, ridden by Frankie Dettori, with Urban Icon just behind in third.

Appleby said: “Absolutely delighted with that. We knew he was a class horse coming into the race and he had a lovely draw. I could see (the ground) was a bit loose for him and our concern was that he might just spin a bit on it, but he’s come back on the bridle turning in like a class horse and put the race to bed at the right time.

“He travels for fun, watching the race there. I’ll be interested to see what William has to say because obviously Dubai World Cup night (Al Quoz Sprint) has to be taken into consideration.”

Buick said: “We had a great run through. He broke well and I didn’t want to be too close to the pace. The pace was perfect. It wasn’t too hot or too slow. I followed Frankie before the split in the straight. It was how I hoped the race would pan out. He was the best horse and I didn’t want to go for any heroics.

“You’d imagine this would set him for the Al Quoz.”

Gifts Of Gold sprang a 33-1 surprise when taking the spoils in the Red Sea Turf Handicap.

The lesser fancied of two Godolphin runners, Saeed bin Suroor’s six-year-old came with a surging run to assert a furlong and put the race to bed in the hands of Pat Cosgrave.

Gifts Of Gold had been well-beaten over mile at Meydan last month on his first run since since September, but bounced back from that over this one mile and seven furlongs.

Last year’s winner Call The Wind and Mildenberger set the early pace, until the complexion of the race changed at the top of the straight when plenty of horses were in contention.

Gifts Of Gold’s move proved decisive and the outsider took a handy advantage. Andrew Balding’s Spanish Mission looked dangerous, but had to settle for second place.

Godolphin’s first string, the Appleby-trained Secret Advisor, stayed on for third place.

Pink Kamehameha struck a blow for Japan when landing the Al Rajhi Bank Saudi Derby.

The three-year-old colt, trained by Hideyuki Mori and ridden by Keita Tosaki, proved too strong for opposition from Europe, America and the Middle East.

Soft Whisper, Godolphin’s UAE 1000 Guineas winner, was up with the pace from the start but had nothing left in the final furlong as Pink Kamehameha shot clear.

Steve Asmussen’s American raider Cowan finished strongly to take second place, just ahead of Dettori on the John Gosden-trained New Treasure.

Mori and Tosaki went agonisingly close to a double, only for Buick to deliver fellow Japanese raider Copano Kicking with precision and collar Matera Sky on the line in the Saudi Arabian Airlines Riyadh Dirt Sprint.

It was a repeat of 12 months ago for Matera Sky, when he was agonisingly beaten by New York Central after holding a clear lead.

Buick said: “It’s a big win. It’s the first time I’ve won on a Japanese horse outside of Japan.

“I’ve been to Japan many times and I’ve ridden a lot of winners there, but I never won one on elsewhere. I’m very grateful to the trainer and owner for giving me the ride on this horse.”

British challengers Oxted and Brad The Brief were unable to get in a real blow.

Soft Whisper taking Saudi Derby plunge

Saeed bin Suroor has explained his thinking behind taking on the boys in the Saudi Derby this weekend with his exciting filly Soft Whisper – who will have the assistance of American riding great Mike Smith.

A seven-length winner of the UAE 1000 Guineas last time out, the daughter of Dubawi has skipped the seemingly easier option of the UAE Oaks this week to make the short journey to Riyadh.

She will arrive in Saudi on a five-timer – but faces a stern rival in the shape of Charlie Appleby’s Rebel’s Romance, among others.

“She won well in the Guineas so we’re going to let her take her chance in the big race in Saudi,” said Bin Suroor.

“We’ll see how she does in a race like that. She’s done well since the Guineas, she’s in good form and we want to see how she gets on against the better horses.

“By running her in this we’ll see how good she is.

“After this we have the option of running her in the UAE Derby, that’s another option after this race.

“She’s exciting, we’re looking forward to seeing her run.”

On jockey arrangements, Bin Suroor said: “We booked Mike Smith because he was coming over (to ride Charlatan in the Saudi Cup) and he was available.

“Obviously if you can get a jockey like him, you do. Frankie (Dettori) is riding (New Treasure) for Mr (John) Gosden.”

Bedouin’s steps up for Zabeel Mile challenge

Frankie Dettori is back aboard Bedouin’s Story as he steps up in class for the Zabeel Mile following his last-gasp win in a handicap at Meydan three weeks ago.

The Italian was seen at his very best on the six-year-old, who had been off the track for well over a year.

Having entered the home straight almost last in the 16-runner affair, Dettori timed it to perfection, winning by a nose.

“He was too far back in the race, but we had Frankie on who gave him a good ride,” said trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

“Luckily, he got a clear run all the way and he got there.

“This time he is in a better race – it’s a Group Two, so it’s a big step up for him.

“We’ll give him a chance at this level and see how he gets on, he’s already had a run so he’s fit.

“I don’t think so much he needs a big field, usually at the Carnival they are good races, strongly run, and that suits him.”

Dettori’s mount is likely to have most to fear from Charlie Appleby’s duo of Art Du Val and D’bai. Appleby also runs Velorum.

D’bai seen in winning action at Haydock last summer
D’bai seen in winning action at Haydock last summer (Steve Davies/PA)

Appleby said: “D’Bai ran a very good race in the Al Fahidi Fort and the return to 1600 metres (a mile) is not a concern as he won over the trip as a young horse. We think the trip will suit him at this stage of his career.

“The 1800m (nine furlongs) looked slightly too far for Art Du Val in the Singspiel, so the drop back 200m should be in his favour.

“Velorum needed the comeback run in the Al Fahidi Fort and has improved from it. We think he can be competitive at this level.”

The Group Two Balanchine sees Appleby’s Althiqa and Summer Romance take on Bin Suroor’s Dubai Love and Last Look, with the Roger Varian-trained Stylistique also in the mix.

A’Ali, Caspian Prince, Equilateral, Lazuli, Waady and Nigel Tinkler’s Acklam Express face off in a fascinating Meydan Sprint.

Bin Suroor eyeing big-race opportunities for Soft Whisper

Saeed bin Suroor is considering options in Dubai and Saudi Arabia for his exciting filly Soft Whisper.

Runner-up on her first two starts in Britain last season, the daughter of Dubawi made it third time lucky at Salisbury in August before following up at Pontefract the following month.

She has taken her game to another level since arriving in Dubai this winter – making a successful dirt debut in the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial at Meydan shortly after the turn of the year, before producing a brilliant display in the UAE 1000 Guineas itself under Frankie Dettori.

Bin Suroor said: “She is entered in the UAE Oaks and also the Saudi Derby. She’s in both races and we will keep options open.

“She is a good filly and unbeaten in Dubai. She won the Guineas Trial and also the Guineas under Frankie. She won both races really well and has come back good from her last race.

“We’re looking forward to the future with her.”

In the immediate aftermath of his filly’s latest triumph, Bin Suroor mooted the Kentucky Oaks in America and even the European Classic races as potential long-term targets.

He added: “We’ll go step-by-step with her and see how she runs in her next race.”

Soft Whisper far too good for UAE Guineas rivals

Saeed bin Suroor won the UAE 1000 Guineas for the 12th time as Soft Whisper fairly bolted up at Meydan.

Ridden with extreme confidence by Frankie Dettori, the Sea The Stars filly was even more impressive on this occasion than in the trial three weeks ago.

Content to get a lead until just before the turn into the straight, as soon as Dettori gave his mount an inch of rein, she cruised into the field and pulled further and further clear to win by seven lengths.

Dettori said: “She missed the kick last time, but jumped really good today. I was always in position A and in control.

“When I kicked, she went, it was as simple as that really. I didn’t have to do much and she’s got a bright future.

“Saeed has mentioned everything – Saudi, the UAE Oaks, the UAE Derby – when they win so impressively you can get excited.

“I just said to Saeed, the last time I won on one as easy as that was probably Dubai Millennium, so it only took me 21 years to win on one as easy, but we have big hopes for her. She might not have beaten much, but you couldn’t help but be impressed.

“We’ll take it one step at a time, nothing tested her today, so it would be wrong of me to say how good she is until she faces better competition.”

Bin Suroor said: “She got confidence when she won last time. She was blowing really hard after it, she needed it, she wasn’t really fit enough but still won.

“She worked really nicely a week ago, the trial put her spot on for this. She’s improving all the time and the trip is fine.

“We’ll keep options open, obviously the UAE Oaks and even the Derby are possible, we’ll speak to Sheikh Mohammed. She’s a filly for the future really.

“We’ll enter her in the Kentucky Oaks and think about the European Classic races.”

Dettori might not have needed to do much on Soft Whisper, but he timed his run on Bedouin’s Story to perfection in the Longines Spirit Collection Trophy.

Charlie Appleby and James Doyle teamed up to win the Cape Verdi at Meydan for the third successive year as Althiqa came from last to first to win impressively.

Following on from the victories of Poetic Charm and Magic Lily in the last two years, the four-year-old filly was backing up a successful season in Europe.

Althiqa was a winner at Newmarket last year
Althiqa was a winner at Newmarket last year (Hugh Routledge/PA)

She won a Listed race in France as well finishing placed in three Group Three events, but was having her first outing for over 140 days.

That mattered little with Doyle settling her right at the rear as Summer Romance and Stunning Beauty ensured a stiff pace.

The latter soon dropped away and Summer Romance was tired in the final furlong, as first Roger Varian’s Stylistique and then Althiqa swept by for a stylish win.

Godolphin dominated the Listed Zabeel Turf with the first six home all sporting the royal blue silks, headed by the unexposed Ya Hayati.

Not seen since being well beaten in the Golden Gates Handicap at Royal Ascot, Mickael Barzalona came with a late run down the outside to beat Bright Melody and Star Safari, with all three trained by Charlie Appleby.

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.”

Dettori and Bin Suroor together again on opening Carnival card

One of racing’s oldest alliances is reunited at Meydan on Thursday as Saeed bin Suroor and Frankie Dettori team up on the opening night of the Dubai Carnival.

The duo conquered the racing world in the early days of the Godolphin operation, with the likes of Lammtarra, Daylami, Swain, Fantastic Light and Dubai Millennium taking starring roles.

Dettori split with Sheikh Mohammed’s team in 2012 after 18 years, but following a few seasons in the wilderness, the ever-popular Italian built himself back up to once again be very much the man for the big occasion – and Bin Suroor is hoping to relive the glory days.

In Military March, who was among the favourites for the Derby having finished fourth in the 2000 Guineas before injury curtailed his season, Dettori has been entrusted with the stable’s big hope.

Military March won the Autumn Stakes a a juvenile
Military March won the Autumn Stakes as a juvenile (Tim Goode/PA)

“We are friends, we have been for many years, ever since the start of Godolphin,” said Bin Suroor.

“I’m going to support Frankie with better horses out in Dubai and in the UK when he is free, so I’m looking forward to seeing some good results with him again.

“We had lots of success worldwide. He’s the best jockey in the world and we’d been together for years and years before this and it’s great that it can continue.”

Military March reappears in the Group Two Singspiel Stakes, where he will face a previous Queen Anne winner in Lord Glitters and Ralph Beckett’s smart Kinross.

“He’s obviously coming back off a long break, but since he’s been in Dubai he’s been working really nicely,” said Bin Suroor.

“This is his first race of the year, but we’re looking forward to it – he’s in good condition and good form.

“Of course he’ll improve from the race, he needs it, but so far he’s doing good. He’s happy and fresh in the morning.

“I’m sure Frankie will give him a nice ride and we’ll take it from there.”

Military March has also been given an entry in the Saudi Cup, but has yet to race on a dirt surface.

Dettori and Bin Suroor enjoyed plenty of success together
Dettori and Bin Suroor enjoyed plenty of success together (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

“We’ll see how he gets on in this before deciding about whether to switch to dirt. He has an entry in the Saudi Cup. We might give him a run on the dirt to give him a chance to prove he can,” said his trainer.

Dubai Icon in the opening seven-furlong handicap, Desert Fire in the Dubai Racing Club Classic, Gifts Of Gold in Round One of the Al Maktoum Challenge and Land Of Legends in the Al Fahidi Fort are Dettori’s other rides for Bin Suroor.

He also teams up with Charlie Hills to ride Equilateral in the closing five-furlong sprint.

Soft Whisper books UAE 1000 Guineas ticket

Soft Whisper led home a one-two-three for trainer Saeed bin Suroor in the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial at Meydan.

The daughter of Dubawi overcame a slow start to comfortably land the spoils in the hands of Pat Cosgrave, with her stablemates Last Sunset and Final Thought second and third respectively.

Jumeirah Beach broke well from the stalls and set a good early pace while Soft Whisper had to be rousted to get a decent position after her tardy beginning.

However, she was well-placed at the top of the straight and asserted over a furlong out to win by two and a half lengths, with three and a quarter lengths back to Final Thought.

“She jumped slow from the gate, but her class saw her win well,” said Bin Suroor.

“Halfway in the race she was travelling nicely and that is what she shows us in the morning when she works.

“She’s a nice filly, twice a winner in England. When she came to Dubai in October she wasn’t in her best condition, but in November and December she improved physically and works well in the morning.

“I like her. She’s a strong, big filly now. The next targets now are going to be the Guineas and the Oaks after we speak to Sheikh Mohammed.

“She will get the trip, no problem.”

Bin Suroor was also happy with the runs of Last Sunset and Final Thought.

“Nine furlongs will be no problem for them. They are nice fillies and will improve and in time will be better,” he said.

Cosgrave said of the winner: “She did everything wrong tonight. She flopped out of the gates. I didn’t have a great run round and had a harder race than I wanted to.

“She will learn plenty today and will be a better filly next time.

“It took me to the 100 (metre) marker down the back to pull her up, which is always a good sign. I was confident going into tonight that she’d win and I think, with a cleaner run, she’d have won a lot further.”

Bin Suroor recalls great moments with Frankie Dettori

Before Frankie Dettori’s Indian summer with John Gosden, his best days in the saddle were when teaming up with Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

For the nostalgists, the fact the two have linked up again in recent years on the odd occasion has been pleasing to see and has brought back memories of some great occasions.

Dettori – who is celebrating his 50th birthday – rode many modern greats of the Turf for Bin Suroor – names such as Daylami, Dubawi, Doyen, Lammtarra, Sakhee and of course Dubai Millennium.

Frankie Dettori won the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Lammtarra
Frankie Dettori won the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Lammtarra (PA)

The latter met with just one defeat in 10 career outings, in the 1999 Derby, yet he went on to win the Prix Jacques le Marois, Dubai World Cup on dirt and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, in which he was ridden by Jerry Bailey as Dettori was recuperating from the injuries suffered in the plane crash that claimed the life of pilot Patrick Mackey in 2000.

As the two men are of a similar age, Bin Suroor felt their partnership was more like a friendship and made travelling the world an enjoyable experience.

“I’m only a couple of years older than him and we’ve always been good friends since Godolphin started 26 years ago and neither of us spoke that good English at the time,” said Bin Suroor.

Frankie Dettori and Saeed bin Suroor after Russian Snows made sure of the trainers' title in 1996
Frankie Dettori and Saeed bin Suroor after Russian Snows made sure of the trainers’ title in 1996 (John Giles/PA)

“He’s a great man and a wonderful jockey – one of the best in history. He has done so many good things for racing worldwide.

“We would travel all over the world together and everyone wanted to speak to him. He always had time for them. Pictures at airports, train stations and in restaurants.

“He rode so many big winners for me and he’s still doing it all now, he’s still at the top of the tree. He is what you need for racing – people love him everywhere.

“Wherever you go, Hong Kong, Dubai, Australia, America everyone loves him.”

As it often the case with the world’s best in any sport, it has been said that the bigger the event, the better Dettori rides and Bin Suroor agrees.

“Because we are friends the winners together mean more. He thrived in the biggest races, they bring the best out of him,” he said.

Frankie Dettori receives his prize from The Queen, after winning the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 1999
Frankie Dettori receives his prize from The Queen, after winning the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 1999 (Neil Munns/PA)

“Daylami would have been our best together, we loved him and he’s my favourite horse. He won all over the world.

“I remember before the Breeders’ Cup in 1999 I told everyone before the race he could not get beaten, which was stupid really. Thankfully he won. Frankie gave him a good ride.

“He’s an amazing jockey, very rare. You can hear the crowds shouting for him, not the horses!”