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Blair House and Benbatl among Godolphin Dubai Turf quartet


Blair House and Benbatl headline a four-strong Godolphin team for the nine-furlong G1 Dubai Turf, one of the feature races on Dubai World Cup Night at Meydan, UAE, on Saturday, 31 March.

The duo lined up against each other over the same course and distance in the G1 Jebel Hatta Sponsored by Emirates Airline on 10 March, when Blair House flew home to beat Benbatl by three-quarters of a length. 

Five-year-old Blair House (Charlie Appleby/William Buick), a son of Pivotal, had previously made three handicap appearances at Meydan, twice finishing second over a mile and a quarter before storming to victory in a nine-furlong contest on 17 February. 

Benbatl (Saeed bin Suroor/Oisin Murphy) started his year with two easy victories over nine furlongs at Meydan, with the four-year-old Dubawi colt scoring on his seasonal return in the G3 Singspiel Stakes on 11 January and readily taking the G2 Al Rashidiya on 1 February. 

Promising Run (Saeed bin Suroor/Pat Cosgrave) has also gained a pair of Pattern victories at Meydan this year, winning the G2 Cape Verdi over a mile on 25 January and the nine-furlong G2 Balanchine on 17 February. 

The five-year-old Hard Spun mare stayed on to finish fourth behind Blair House and Benbatl in the Jebel Hatta Sponsored by Emirates Airline. 

Leshlaa (Saeed bin Suroor/Christophe Soumillon) failed to get competitive in the Jebel Hatta Sponsored by Emirates Airline but the four-year-old Street Cry colt ran well when beaten a head to Folkswood in the 10-furlong G3 Dubai Millennium Stakes on 22 February and easily beat Blair House in a handicap on 8 February. 

The 15 runners for the Dubai Turf also include the two most recent winners, Vivlos and Real Steel, plus G1 QEII Cup victor Neorealism and Trais Fluors, who was second to Godolphin’s Thunder Snow in the G1 Prix Jean Prat. 

Charlie Appleby remarked: “Blair House has really thrived out in Dubai this winter and I was delighted to see him get a G1 victory in the Jebel Hatta 

“This is a much tougher contest, with some high-class international runners, but he deserves to take his chance. He loves the course and could not be going into the race in better form.”

Saeed bin Suroor said: “Benbatl is a very tough horse and I like him a lot. 

“He has improved all the time since he arrived out in Dubai, winning a pair of G2 races and finishing second in the Jebel Hatta.

“The wide draw didn’t help him in the Jebel Hatta, when he raced on the outside of the field and didn’t look very comfortable throughout. He came to win his race but was beaten near the line. 

“This is another big step for him, taking on some very strong opposition, but he heads into this race in good form. His latest piece of work went very well and I am hoping for a good run. 

“Nine furlongs suits him very well and he has a good draw in stall five. He has kept improving, but now needs to show us more as this is a very good race. 

“Promising Run won her two races against fillies and ran well to finish fourth against the colts in the Jebel Hatta. This is another step up, but she looks really well in her condition at the moment.

“Leshlaa has done well out in Dubai and I have been pleased with his work at home. He won a good handicap earlier in the Carnival and we felt that he deserves to take his chance in the Dubai Turf.”

Blair House is drawn 15, with Benbatl in stall five, Promising Run emerging from three and Leshlaa drawn 14.