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Benbatl still on target for Cox Plate despite York injuries

J A McGrath

Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor reports Benbatl to be sound and back in training after being struck into when fifth in the G1 Juddmonte International at York on Wednesday, 22 August.

The classy four-year-old sustained two nasty cuts to his hind legs. Hence, his run may have been better than it appeared on paper — he was beaten five and threequarter lengths by Roaring Lion after striking the front two furlongs out.

Saeed said: “The cuts were significant injuries, but I’m pleased to say he is back training again and he looks good. The plan is still to go to Australia for the Cox Plate.”

Benbatl is scheduled to start quarantine for his trip to Melbourne on Thursday, 13 September. He is heading for a clash with the champion Australian mare Winx, who will attempt a record fourth consecutive win in the G1 Cox Plate, Australia’s premier weight-for-age race.

“His Highness Sheikh Mohammed has approved the plan to run Benbatl in the Cox Plate. If the horse needs a prep race on arrival, we will look at the G1 Caulfield Stakes, over a mile and a quarter on Saturday, 13 October,” Saeed added.