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Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Rain would be welcome in Munich as Benbatl heads British challenge

Benbatl: heads to Germany for next Group 1 test
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3.45 Munich
Grosser Dallmayr Preis - Bayerisches Zuchtrennen (Group 1) | 3yo+ | 1m2f | Turf

Saeed Bin Suroor heads to Germany on Sunday hoping for rain so that Benbatl can take in a Group 1 assignment that could be a stepping stone to a clash with Winx later this year.

The Godolphin trainer has not landed a top-level victory since Thunder Snow captured the Dubai World Cup in March, and his best chances of ending the drought appear to lie on the international stage.

Germany has been hit by the same heatwave as Britain but the going is good in Munich, where Benbatl is one of ten horses that line up for the Grosser Dallmayr Preis-Bayerisches Zuchtrennen that also includes the Ed Walker-trained Stormy Antarctic.

Benbatl, fifth in last year's Derby, capped off a successful winter in Dubai with victory in the Group 1 Dubai Turf and, on his only start since returning to Britain, finished tenth in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot where the ground was too fast.

Bin Suroor said: "He's worked well since and I'm pleased with him. Any rain in Germany would help."

The contest may act as part of Benbatl’s preparation for a clash with Australia’s champion mare Winx in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 27.

“We'll see how he goes in Germany," said the trainer. "It's possible he could then have one more run before going into quarantine for the trip to Australia.”

Last year's winner Iquitos, fifth behind Waldgeist in France last time, returns, while Stormy Antarctic, who won the Group 2 Badener Meile last time, moves up to ten furlongs for the first time.

Stormy Antarctic: steps up in trip

Trainer Ed Walker said: "We've always wanted to try this trip and he's been much more manageable this year as a gelding.

"We feel he'll stay if he switches off, and he's been switching off very well. He stayed a mile as a two-year-old so he really should do.

"The ground shouldn't be an issue – they water well in Germany – and James Doyle, who is in very good form at the moment, rides him for the first time."

He added: "Benbatl will be very hard to beat on his Dubai form and Iquitos looks a very good horse. It's by no means a bad Group 1 and he's going to have to be at his best to win it."

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It's possible he could then have one more run before going into quarantine for the trip to Australia
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