Dubai: Godolphin’s Benbatl bounced back from a 335-day absence to capture the Group 2 Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket racecourse in the UK on Friday.
A three-time Group 1 winner, the Saeed Bin Surour-trained galloper dominated the contest under Oisin Murphy to coast to a compelling five-length victory.
The winner was cut to 6-1 (from 14) for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot next month and is also a 8-1s shot (from 10-1) for the Champion Stakes.
favourite King Of Comedy finished second under Frankie Dettori. Zaaki finished third, while UAE Jewel, who was also returning from a long layoff, took fourth for Roger Varian.
Murphy said: “It was a great training performance by Saeed and everybody else who got him back. You can go a mile or ten furlongs with him and he’s got loads of class.
“I haven’t slept much this week with excitement. There was no pressure on today as it was a prep run, but he hasn’t had a slap and he was electric. It’s a fantastic feeling. He is the best around, he’s rated 123 and he’s very good.
“Champions Day is coming up and there’s a reasonable time period between now and then so hopefully the horse can continue to thrive and we can get excited.”