Benbatl expected to "improve a lot" following return in Joel Stakes at Newmarket

Mon 28 Sep 2020

Saeed bin Suroor believes Benbatl just lacked a little in the race-fitness department when he was beaten at Newmarket in the Joel Stakes.

Winner of the race last year after a lengthy absence, this time he returned to action for his first start since going close in the inaugural Saudi Cup more than 200 days previously.

With Frankie Dettori in the plate for the first time last week, the six-year-old adopted front-running tactics.

But he eventually had to settle for third after failing to fend off the younger Kameko, who was returning to winning ways for the first time since his 2000 Guineas success.

The Verdict: Angus McNae analyses the Shadwell Joel Stakes

“He’s good after the race – which is the main thing,” said Bin Suroor.

“Talking to Frankie after the race, he just said he needed it and that he would improve a lot for it.

“He’s entered in both races at Ascot on Champions Day, the QEII and the Champion Stakes, and we’ll make a decision closer to the day.

“But we know, come that time of year, that the ground will probably be soft.”

Such conditions are far from ideal for Benbatl.

Bin Suroor added: “We took a chance last year and ran him on it – but he was last, so we won’t do that.

“We’ll keep him entered – and if the ground is good we will run him.”

Although Benbatl is a seasoned traveller, Bin Suroor is not contemplating taking his stable star to the Breeders’ Cup.

He said: “We’re not thinking of the Breeders’ Cup at this moment.

“The races for him are in Saudi Arabia and Dubai – they’re the ones for him.

“He ran well, (so) we were pleased.”

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