Soft ground scuppers Benbatl's Ascot plans

Benbatl ridden by Oisin Murphy wins the Shadwell Joel Stakes
Image: Benbatl

Saeed bin Suroor has been left cursing the weather which has forced him to rule Benbatl out of Qipco Champions Day at Ascot.

The multiple Group One winner was being prepared for a crack at either the Champion Stakes over 10 furlongs or the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over a mile - in which he ran last year.

Benbatl was sent off 7-2 favourite for the QEII 12 months ago but trailed home last of the 14 runners, and Bin Suroor did not want to run him on very soft ground again on Saturday.

Instead, he will be shipped back to Dubai for the Carnival - with the World Cup once more an aim, a race for which he was among the favourites this year before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

"There was no point running him at Ascot (this weekend) - we ran him last year, and he hated it," said Bin Suroor.

"We were keen to run, (and) he'd been working well, but we know he doesn't like soft ground.

"He won't go to the Breeders' Cup. We'll take him back to Dubai, prepare him for races out there for him. We've had a bit of a wasted season.

"Saudi Arabia is (also) one of the options for him, like last year."

Benbatl made his debut on dirt in the inaugural Saudi Cup in February, and finished third to Maximum Security.

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