Benbatl treads into the unknown at Meydan
The Godolphin charge will make his first foray on dirt at the Meydan Racecoourse when he runs in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 on Thursday
Yet another horse meeting, the sixth of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, rumbles along and the bar is raised with each passing week.
This weekend's meeting, under the shining lights of the iconic Meydan Racecourse will witness a top-notch field headlined by none other than Benbatl.
After landing the Group 2 Singspiel Stakes for a second time, the Godolphin charge will be treading into the unknown when the six-year-old from Dubawi makes his first foray on dirt on Thursday.
Saddled by Emirati handler Saeed bin Suroor, the most successful Dubai World Cup trainer of all-time, Benbatl will have a crack at the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2, a Group 2 affair over 1900 metres.
And bin Suroor, who has won the Dubai World Cup a record nine times, revealed that the decision to run him on dirt was made by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.
"He's in good form and worked really well last Thursday," said bin Suroor.
"This is a test for him to see if he can handle the dirt and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed made the decision to run him and see if he's going to like the dirt. He works very well on the all-weather Tapeta at Al Quoz (training centre), but that is Tapeta. On Thursday, it'll be his first time on dirt, so we will see," added bin Suroor, who saddled Thunder Snow to back-to-back wins at the Dubai World Cup.
Bin Suroor also said that the winning run in the Singspiel was an important factor and the grandson of 2000 Dubai World Cup winner Dubai Millennium has showed promise.
"He needed the Singspiel and has improved from the race," bin Suroor said.
Benbatl, the mount of Christophe Soumillon, had triumphed in the Singspiel Stakes by a commanding 4.75 lengths over For The Top, earlier in January.
"That race was just to get him fit and he is ready to try the dirt. There's no excuse now that he's had a run and is fit. He's an easy horse to train; a proper horse who has won in England, Germany, Australia and Dubai. Just a class horse," added the Emirati.
Meanwhile, bin Suroor's other wards Laser Show and Colour Image will be competing in the Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas.
"He is a good horse, but he needs a farther trip," bin Suroor said of Laser Show.
"He needs at least nine furlongs and this time we'll run him the shorter mile trip and give him a chance now that he has the visor. The visor really helped him and I know he can run farther in the (Al Bastakiya Trial and UAE Derby)," he added.
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