Christophe Soumillon appears set to renew his association with Benbatl in the Dubai World Cup at Meydan.
Saeed bin Suroor’s stable star won three Group Ones in three different continents in 2018 – landing the Dubai Turf, the Grosser Dallmayr Preis in Germany and Ladbrokes Stakes in Australia, before chasing home wonder-mare Winx as she claimed an historic fourth Cox Plate.
After making a successful return from a lengthy absence at Newmarket last autumn, Benbatl disappointed when favourite for the QEII at Ascot, but has bounced back this year – winning twice at Meydan before finishing third in the inaugural Saudi Cup last month.
Oisin Murphy was in the saddle in Riyadh, but Soumillon steered the six-year-old to his two wins in the UAE earlier in the campaign and is favourite for the mount in the Dubai feature on Saturday week.
“I think Christophe will ride next week. It is not 100 per cent, but that is most likely at the moment,” Bin Suroor told the PA news agency.
Bin Suroor has already saddled a record nine previous winners of the World Cup, striking gold with the likes of Dubai Millennium (2000), Electrocutionist (2006) and Thunder Snow (2018 and 2019), who became the first ever dual winner 12 months ago under Soumillon.
Of Benbatl, the Newmarket trainer added: “He’s doing good. He came back from his last run in the Saudi Cup in very good form and he is ready to run again next Saturday.
“It’s so far, so good. He’s a tough horse who has won his last two races in Dubai, the second race on dirt. He ran very well in what was a very tough race in Saudi Arabia, beating some good horses.
“There will be some very good horses against him in the World Cup, but he deserves to be in that class.”
Benbatl is a best-priced 9-4 favourite for the Dubai World Cup with Sky Bet and William Hill.