Godolphin ready to pitch Thunder Snow and Benbatl in to stellar Juddmonte International at York

By Geoffrey Riddle@Louchepunter
Fri 17 Aug 2018

It is like the gathering of heroes.

Hot on the heels of John Gosden suggesting he could have more than one runner in Wednesday's Juddmonte International, Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor has underlined he could be double-handed in York's £1million event.

The Newmarket handler, who has won the 10-furlong contest four times, hopes to pitch Thunder Snow in to the mix, and the Dubai World Cup winner will have Dubai Turf victor Benbatl alongside for the Champions Series-backed fixture.

“They are ready but will have a last piece of work tomorrow – just to blow out before the race. But so far I am happy with them," Bin Suroor said on Friday.

“I know the race is going to be very tough – the best quality horses are going to run. But both of them are doing well.”

Watch Thunder Snow's demolition in the World Cup

There is a stellar cast set to take on the Godolophin duo. Prince Of Wales's Stakes and King George winner Poet's Word heads the betting at 2-1, while Gosden's Coral-Eclipse hero Roaring Lion is next at 11-4. Saxon Warrior bids to regain the winning thread after three unsuccessful attempts to add to his 2,000 Guineas victory and is 5-1 with Betfair, while Gosden has also suggested that St James's Palace Stakes winner and subsequent Sussex Stakes flop Without Parole could run if the ground remains quick. If it does not, and there is rain, stablemate Cracksman may well join the party instead.

Thunder Snow has not raced since his dominant triumph over West Coast at Meydan in March, and will be warming up for a Breeders' Cup launchpad in America next month before a tilt at the Classic itself at Churchill Downs. He is 25-1 for the November 3 race.

Benbatl failed to add a Royal Ascot victory to his Dubai World Cup night success in June, but bounced back to form when running away with the Group One Grosser Dallmayr Preis - Bayerisches Zuchtrennen in Munich last month from Ed Walker's Stormy Antarctic. Both Group One scorers can be backed at 16-1.

Benbatl was a good winner at Meydan

"Thunder Snow's last race was the Dubai World Cup and we made a decision with Sheikh Mohammed just to give him a break – because he’d had four races in Dubai," Bin Suroor added.

“Since the horse came to Newmarket he’s doing well and working nicely. Oisin Murphy rode him last week – on the Limekilns in Newmarket – and the horse is improving all the time and now he’s fit, but he’ll need the race and will improve for it.

“He needs the race before we take him to America. The target to start with is the Group 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup over a mile and a quarter at Belmont Park on September 29. After that we’ll take him to the Breeders’ Cup Classic in Churchill Downs.

“Whatever happens in the Juddmonte will make him fit and ready for the future.

“I know he has won two Group Ones in France on turf but on the dirt his action is much better.”

Benbatl will be making his second visit to York, having finished runner-up to Permian over course and distance in the Dante Stakes of 2017.

“The horse has really improved physically this year,” bin Suroor said. “The key for him is that it has got to be good ground, really. He doesn’t like fast ground or soft. He is doing well. Oisin Murphy rode him last week and he worked really nicely.”

Juddmonte International greats - take a walk down memory lane:

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