Overnight Godolphin’s superstar BENBATL just etched his name into the record books when he brilliantly and easily won the Gr 2 Al Maktoum Challenge on the dirt.
Just watch the replay.
It was his first look at dirt and the Nth American pundits all said, he had no chance. Grass horses can’t convert at that level.
Well, he did and won by a minute. He is now the ruling favourite for the rich Dubai World Cup which is also on the dirt in a few weeks.
But his win did something else.
It made many non-Aussie racing fans realise just how good WINX actually was.
“Oh, she only beat hand-picked weak locals,” they crowed for years as her stunning record kept evolving.
These of course were mostly European people saying that.
But in recent years, the good international form of Highland Reel who Winx dismantled, followed by the devastating win of LYS GRACIEUX last year and now Benbatl’s efforts have made perspective a little clearer.
The WS Cox Plate is now seen as a powerful WFA race on the world stage.
Lys Gracieux is today rated in the Top 3 racehorses on the planet after she again won at Gr 1 level following her Cox Plate win. And of course, Benbatl came to Australia, vaunted and rightly so, yet Winx gave him a cold.
We know Winx won 4 x Gr 1 Cox Plates.
That would be akin to winning the Dubai World Cup 4 times. Or the Breeders’ Cup 4 times. Or the Arc de Triumph 4 times.
Respect was earned while racing and is now being franked while retired for the wonder mare.