Dubai: Saeed Bin Surour and Frankie Dettori have together won some of the world’s biggest races, but the legendary trainer-jockey pairing were denied what would have been a historic win in the Group 2 Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket on Friday, after Benbatl was beaten to third place.
Bin Surour has won the prestigious mile contest on three occasions in the past, and most recently with Benbatl last year, but never with Dettori in the saddle.
For a while on Friday, it looked like the that would change as Benbatl surged to the front of the five-horse field at the Rowley Mile course, before he was reined in by 2000 Guineas hero Kameko and the three-time Group 3 winner Regal Beauty.
Sent off as the 7/4 favourite, Benbatl — who has won 11 of his 21 career starts including three at Group 1 level across three continents — made most of the running before fading in the final furlong.
The Andrew Balding-trained Kameko defied his 5lb penalty for his Guineas win to answer all that was asked of him from his jockey and reigning British champion, Oisin Murphy.
“There’s a lot of pressure on the fastest Guineas winner ever, but there were no options for him and I don’t think there have been many three-year-olds that could give weight to horses like Benbatl,” said Murphy, who rode Benbatl to finish third in the inaugural $20 million Saudi Cup in February this year.
“He’s definitely a miler and he might get an easy 10 [furlongs] on fast ground, but it would be nice to make him as good a racehorse as he can be. So much hard work has gone into him, to keep him sound and organised, it’s a huge team effort.”
Saturday’s third and final day of Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire meeting is an absolute cracker with a pair of Group 1 contests, the Cheveley Park and Middle Park Stakes a Group 2 event in the Royal Lodge Stakes and the popular Cambridgeshire handicap itself.