Godolphin Jebel Hatta quintet spearheaded by Benbatl and Folkswood
Four-year-old Dubawi colt Benbatl (Saeed bin Suroor/Oisin Murphy) is unbeaten in two appearances on turf over the same course and distance this year, having followed up an easy win in the G3 Singspiel Stakes on Thursday, 11 January with another impressive display in the G2 Al Rashidiya on Thursday, 1 February.
Last year’s runner-up Folkswood (Charlie Appleby/William Buick), a five-year-old son of Exceed And Excel, also made a winning seasonal return on the turf of Meydan, running on gamely for a short-head verdict over Leshlaa in the 10-furlong G3 Dubai Millennium Stakes on Thursday, 22 February.
Leshlaa (Saeed bin Suroor/Pat Cosgrave) re-opposes Folkswood and the four-year-old Street Cry colt previously stormed to a comprehensive victory over Blair House in a handicap over a mile and a quarter on turf at Meydan on Thursday, 8 February.
Blair House (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle) went on to frank the form when readily taking a turf handicap, run over the same course and distance as the Jebel Hatta Sponsored By Emirates Airline, on Saturday, 17 February.
The powerful Godolphin team is completed by five-year-old Hard Spun mare Promising Run (Saeed bin Suroor/Harry Bentley), who has gained two G2 prizes at Meydan so far this year – the mile Cape Verdi on Thursday, 25 January and the Balanchine over nine furlongs on Saturday, 17 February.
Saeed bin Suroor explained: “Benbatl has done very well out in Dubai, winning nicely on both of his starts this year, and has been working well.
“Running in a G1 is the next step for him and he will be taking on some quality horses. We are looking for another good run.
“Leshlaa has also been in good form during the Carnival, having won well and finished second last time out. He is a tough horse who has been going well at home and we wanted to give him a chance in a big race.
“Promising Run tries hard in her races. She beat the colts in the G2 Al Rashidiya last season and I am looking forward to seeing how she gets on following two good wins against her own sex this year.”
Charlie Appleby declared “We were delighted with Folkswood’s victory in the Dubai Millennium Stakes and he came out of that race very well.
“He is a seasoned horse now and you can’t knock his Meydan form – the track and the style of racing suit him – and he seems to thrive out in Dubai.
“He has a nice draw in stall two and, if he can reproduce his seasonal return, he should be bang there.
“Blair House has a bit to find on the ratings, but has put three solid runs together at the Carnival and I was quite impressed with his latest win.
“He will be ridden for a bit of luck and he has a similar profile to Folkswood going into this race last year.”