Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor hoping Benbatl can rise to the challenge

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Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor would love to see his stable star Benbatl register a first Group One success on British soil in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

The five-year-old won top-level prizes in Dubai, Germany and Australia in 2018 – before rounding off his campaign by chasing home the all-conquering mare Winx when she made history with a fourth victory in the Cox Plate.

Despite an 11-month absence, Benbatl looked better than ever when running out a hugely-impressive winner of the Joel Stakes at Newmarket three weeks ago, and Bin Suroor – bidding for a record sixth QEII success on Saturday – has been delighted with his charge since.

He said: “He worked well last Saturday – he’s in good condition and is ready to run. We are very happy and looking forward to Saturday. He’s a calm horse, who is very easy and straightforward to train.”

The one caveat concerning Benbatl is the prevailing testing conditions at the Berkshire track.

Bin Suroor plans to consult jockey Oisin Murphy after he has ridden James Fanshawe’s The Tin Man in the Qipco British Champions Sprint – which starts the stellar card – before confirming Benbatl’s participation.

“Our jockey will ride in the race (on the straight track) before, and tell us what he thinks,” the trainer added.

“The horse is in good form – he has won Group Ones in Dubai, Germany and Australia, and now he needs to win one in England.”

On the day he will be crowned champion jockey for the first time, Murphy is optimistic that Benbatl can give him further cause for celebration.

He said: “I had a big win in Dubai and a Group One in Germany on him. He had a bit of time off after the Cox Plate – but he bounced back, winning the Joel Stakes by five lengths at Newmarket.

“He’s a very special horse – he’s one of the best horses in the world.

“He’s rated 126, and I invite everyone to look at him at Ascot. He’s out of the ordinary.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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