Godolphin’s Benbatl is far from done in his already decorated career and the 5-year-old winner of top-level affairs on three continents put an exclamation point on that sentiment with his return in this past Friday’s Group 2 Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket. The son of multiple Group 1 winners Dubawi and Nahrain led from stalls to finish, decimating a field that included well-regarded 3-year-old King of Comedy, last-out Strensall Stakes (G3) winner Zaaki and previously undefeated UAE Jewel.
Hitting the wire five lengths in front and under minimal urging from Oisin Murphy, the Saeed bin Suroor trainee won for the first time from four tries at 1600m and impressed his pilot in the process.
“He looked amazing in the paddock and obviously is a big, strong horse bound to improve from his first run,” Murphy said. “He’s done so much for my career. He was my first Royal Ascot winner (in the 2017 Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes) and then (the Group 1 $6 million) Dubai (Turf). It was a super training performance by Saeed and his team. He’s beaten them without getting a smack. An incredible performance.
“Hopefully he stays sound and they can train him how they like,” Murphy continued. “He’s pretty versatile from eight to 10 furlongs. It’s not often you see a horse of this quality.”
Bin Suroor was very pleased with the run, which kicked off a solid weekend for his division of Godolphin horses. He would win just an hour or so later with another DWC Carnival star, Mountain Hunter, in Listed company. A day later, he would land a Chelmsford handicap with opening night DWC Carnival winner Bin Battuta.
“We might take (Benbatl) to the ‘QE2’ or Champion Stakes,” he said. “There’s also a race in Germany. Then we will most likely take him back to Dubai and the big races there. We expect more from him in the future.”
Both the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Group 1 Champion Stakes are at Ascot Racecourse on British Champions Day, October 19. The former is at the same 1600m distance of the Joel, while the latter is at the 2000m trip at which Benbatl has won Group 1s in Australia and Germany.
A three-time Meydan winner, Benbatl famously landed the Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World (G1) of 2018 in dominating fashion and carries some of the best class lines in training, having faced the likes of Enable, Winx and Roaring Lion. He currently carries a lofty Official Rating of 123 and earned a career-high-matching Racing Post Rating of 124 for Friday’s performance. He has a record of 8-3-1 from 17 tries and earnings just shy of $5.3 million.