Caulfield Stakes winner and Cox Plate runner-up Benbatl has scored a dominant win in the Group Two Joel Stakes at Newmarket.
Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor is now eyeing Group One options on Champions day at Ascot for the five-year-old.
Having been off the track since chasing Winx home in the Cox Plate in October, the Oison Murphy-ridden Benbatl belied his 4-1 price to beat 6-5 favourite King Of Comedy by five lengths over 1600m.
“It was a hard season for him last year and he ran in many races, starting in Dubai. We talked to Sheikh Mohammed and decided to give him a break to start him at this time of year,” bin Suroor said.
RaceBets make Benbatl their 7-1 second-favourite from 14-1 for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on October 19, while Betfair cut him to 8-1 from 10-1 for the Champion Stakes on the same card.
“We will keep the options open and I want to speak to the boss,” bin Suroor said.
“We will be looking at Group One races for him and we could take him to Ascot for the QEII or the Champion Stakes and there is also a race for him in Germany. After that I want to take him back to Dubai and run him in the big races there.
“He is a solid horse that has always tried really hard. Talking to Oisin he said he would have no problem being kept at a mile or going back to a mile and a quarter, but he showed plenty of speed.
“In the stable there is always a star and he is one of them. He is a Group One winner in the past and we are looking to keep him happy and healthy for the future.”