Bin Suroor Waiting On Saudi Cup Decision For Benbatl

Sheikh Mohammed is likely to make the final decision over whether Benbatl will contest the inaugural running of the Saudi Cup in Riyadh later this month.

Trainer - SAEED BIN SUROOR Picture: Racing and Sports

The multiple Group One winner on turf showed his versatility at Meydan by winning the second round of the Al Maktoum Challenge, on his first try on a dirt surface.

That booked his ticket for the Dubai World Cup, a race his trainer Saeed bin Suroor has won nine times, including the last two with Thunder Snow - but Benbatl could be seen in action before then.

"He ran well. He's got the invitation for the Saudi Cup and then obviously there's the World Cup as well, they are the two races for him now," said Bin Suroor.

"I want to see how he is over the next few days. I talked to the boss before trying him on dirt and he agreed, and I want to talk to the boss before the Saudi Cup.

"The timings work well, it's three weeks to the Saudi Cup (February 29) and then another four until the Dubai World Cup (March 28), so that's very good.

"There was obviously a question mark about the dirt. He looked the class horse in the field and he worked well in the mornings, but racing on dirt is a different story.

"I was worried about the kick-back so I talked to Christophe (Soumillon) and reminded him how he rode Thunder Snow - I told him to do the same, to avoid the kick-back. He did get a little kick-back, but not a lot.

"On dirt, if you can break well and avoid the kick-back you've always got a better chance if you get a clear run."