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Internationals hold the key to G1 Caulfield Stakes

Mike Hedge

The high-class Godolphin visitors Benbatl and Blair House make G1 appearances in Melbourne on Saturday when they run in the G1 Caulfield Stakes.

For Benbatl (Saeed bin Suroor/Pat Cosgrave) his Australian debut is a stepping stone to his main mission, the G1 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley two weeks later.

While he may need the run, the stable is pleased with the form he’s shown while in quarantine.

“He has been away from the racecourse for some time,” said trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

“He hasn’t raced since the Juddmonte International at York in August, so he needs a run before moving on to the Cox Plate.”

Blair House (Charlie Appleby/ James Doyle) comes to Saturday’s race with the advantage of having run at Caulfield two weeks ago in the G1 Underwood Stakes, a race in which very little went right for the horse.

“His first run in Australia was good in the circumstances,” said trainer Charlie Appleby.

“He missed the break and was near-last early, yet he finished off his race well, despite being checked in the straight.

“This is a tough race, but he is ready to step up.”

In a race in which international form will be vital to assessing prospects, the Godolphin pair are opposed by the likes of Homesman, formerly trained in Ireland and a winner twice in Australia, the Aidan O’Brien-trained The Cliffsofmoher, and the former Japanese runner Tosen Basil.

Among the locals, Humidor shapes as one of the best chances.