Saeed bin Suroor says globe-trotting star Benbatl is 'ready to go' ahead of return at the age of seven at Goodwood
SAEED bin Suroor can’t wait to go to war with stable star Benbatl again this autumn.
The three-time Group 1 winner is set to return from 337 days on the sidelines in Goodwood’s Celebration Mile on Saturday.
The globe-trotting stallion, who has won 10 races in four different countries, is now a seven-year-old and has been off the track since last September.
He has suffered a couple of niggling injuries in recent seasons, so the decision was made to give him an extended break this year.
But he is back for another money-spinning campaign, with this weekend's race likely to tee up another trip overseas.
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Bin Suroor said: “We decided to give him a break earlier in the year rather than take him to Dubai because he’d had some hard races.
“He is a seven-year-old now so you have to give them a little bit of time off.
“I will never push a horse, I wait for them to tell me they’re ready. And he is telling me he is ready.
“He always tries his best, whether it is in his races or in the mornings. He likes to please you and he did a very good piece of work on Saturday.
“I think the Celebration Mile is a nice race for him. It is quite a stiff mile at Goodwood and the ground will be good.
“He is the best horse in my stable and has won all around the world, so it is great that he is still showing his enthusiasm.
“After Goodwood we will go abroad, probably to Germany for a Group 1 in Cologne next month.”
Benbatl was one of 14 horses left in contention at the five-day confirmation stage for the £125,000 Celebration Mile and he heads the betting at 5-2 with Sky Bet.
Among his potential opponents are the Charles Hills-trained Mutasaabeq (9-2) and fellow Godolphin runner Al Suhail (15-2).
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Two-time Group 2 winner Stormy Antarctic (12-1) is also set to take his chance and trainer Ed Walker is hoping for a drop of rain to ease conditions as he takes on Benbatl again.
He said: “Benbatl is a top-class horse and beat us a couple of lengths when we last met him in Germany, but that was over further.
“It will be his first run of the season and over a sharp-enough trip, so we are keen to have a crack at him.
“I think he still has enough speed to cope with the step down to a mile. He is in great shape, though I wouldn't mind a drop of rain as that would increase his chance.
“He is a real yard favourite, he was one of our first good horses and he still has it. He loves his racing and never lets us down.”
Current 11-4 second favourite Chindit isn't expected to take his place in the field, with Richard Hannon preferring a tilt at the Prix du Moulin on September 5.
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