GODOLPHIN handler Saeed bin Suroor has confirmed Benbatl will not defend his Group 1 Dubai Turf title this year. The 5yo son of Dubawi will forego the $6 million affair and instead be pointed at a European campaign for Godolphin. Benbatl won the Group 3 Singspiel Stakes on the opening night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival last year and took the Group 2 Al Rashidiya a few weeks later. He was then second in a narrow defeat by Godolphin teammate Blair House in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta on Super Saturday, but bounced back to win the Dubai Turf impressively. Bin Suroor will not be perturbed with Benbatl’s absence on the world’s richest night in horse racing as he has a more than capable deputy in Dream Castle, who has trodden a similar path and is training extremely well as he prepares to sweep all three of the major course and distance preps, with the Group 1 Jebel Hatta his next target.
The son of the great Frankel already won the same two preps Benbatl did in 2018 and appears a horse very much on the upswing. “Like Best Solution, Benbatl had a very hard season last year, running from January until November,” Bin Suroor explained. “We will try to keep him fresh for the European season and he will miss the Dubai Turf, but we have Dream Castle, who is doing very well. We will prepare him for the Jebel Hatta and Dubai Turf and he will try to do what we did with Benbatl last year. “They are very similar horses. Dream Castle has improved this year. He is not as keen in the race and he likes the 9f distance. Physically, he has looked very good and mentally he has changed for the better.
He shows a lot of class in the mornings.” Fifth in the 2000 Guineas in May 2017 on his third start, Dream Castle had not won in nearly 22 months when taking both of his starts this year. But he is now unbeaten in two starts since being gelded and teamed with Christophe Soumillon. Meanwhile, it’s the Japanese that are once again dominating the Dubai Turf news with Almond Eye, the nation’s top rated horse, reportedly on course for Meydan at the end of the month. Dubai Turf probables: Almond Eye, Dream Castle, Vivlos, Deirdre, Mythical Magic, Wootton, Marinaresco, Deauville and Without Parole