An international Group One winner looks set to take on Winx in the 2018 Cox Plate with confirmation that Godolphin-owned Benbatl has accepted an invitation to contest the $5 million race.
Benbatl has won five of his 12 starts including the Group One Dubai Turf (1800m) at Meydan earlier this year.
The 4-year-old colt finished unplaced in his most recent start in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot where trainer Saeed bin Suroor blamed the quick ground for Benbatl’s disappointing run.
Benbatl will now press on to the Group One Grosser Dallmayr-Preis-Bayeriches Zuchtrennen at Munich on 29 July, a race which will be crucial to his Cox Plate aspirations.
“I have spoken to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, and he has decided to take up the invitation issued to Godolphin for Benbatl.” Saeed said.
“Being a winner of the Dubai Turf, over nine furlongs, and the G3 Hampton Court Stakes, over 10 furlongs at Royal Ascot, the 2040m at Moonee Valley should be the perfect trip for Benbatl.
“Obviously, he will have to show us that he continues in good form, at Munich and in the race following, in order to travel to Australia. But, at the present time, the Cox Plate is the intended target,” he added.
The 2018 Cox Plate will be run at Moonee Valley on October 27.