Joel Stakes: Oisin Murphy says Benbatl could be hard to beat on return to Newmarket after Goodwood second

Benbatl faces seven rivals in bid to reclaim Group Two Joel Stakes crown after victory in 2019; Oisin Murphy rides after finishing second for trainer Saeed bin Suroor at Goodwood last month; William Buick rides Charlie Appleby's Master Of The Seas

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Oisin Murphy is excited to be back on board Benbatl in Friday’s Group Two Joel Stakes at Newmarket and thinks Saeed bin Suroor’s seven-year-old is in with a great chance if he gets a clear run.

Godolphin stars Benbatl and Master Of The Seas will lock horns in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket.

Benbatl was a runaway winner of Friday's Group Two contest in 2019, and finished third behind Kameko when defending his crown 12 months ago.

Saeed bin Suroor's charge was narrowly denied by Lavender's Blue on his return from almost a year on the sidelines in last month's Celebration Mile at Goodwood, and bids to get back on the winning trail on his return to the Rowley Mile under Oisin Murphy.

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Murphy told Sky Sports Racing: "I'm thrilled to get back on him. He missed the break at Goodwood, just as the stalls opened he panicked and got up in the air.

"With a better trip he ought to have won that day so that was unfortunate.

"This is a competitive race as it always is, a really tough Group Two, but if he's at his best we'll be hard to beat."

Bin Suroor also had the option of saddling the improving Real World, but he has not been declared.

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The biggest threat to Benbatl appears to be the Charlie Appleby-trained Master Of The Seas, to whom he must concede 4lb.

The Dubawi colt won the Craven Stakes over the course and distance in the spring, but has been sidelined by injury since being beaten a short head by Poetic Flare in the 2000 Guineas in May.

William Knight saddles the ultra-consistent Sir Busker, while Eve Johnson Houghton runs stable stalwart Accidental Agent.

Pogo (Charlie Hills), Queen Supreme (Andrew Balding), Laneqash (Roger Varian) and Perotto (Marcus Tregoning) complete the field.

Majestic Glory goes for Newmarket hat-trick

Group Two honours are also up for grabs in the preceding Rockfel Stakes, for which 10 juvenile fillies are set to go to post.

Leading contenders include Balding's Majestic Glory, who bids to complete a Newmarket hat-trick following successive wins on the July Course - most recently landing the Group Three Sweet Solera Stakes.

Ralph Beckett and Frankie Dettori team up with July Course maiden winner Girl On Film, while Jumbly puts her unbeaten record on the line for Roger Charlton following victories at Leicester and Kempton.

George Boughey's Oscula is also in the mix.

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Beckett's Yorkshire Oaks runner-up Albaflora sets a lofty standard in the Group Three Princess Royal Stakes.

Her rivals include Forbearance from the red-hot stable of Jessica Harrington, Hugo Palmer's Golden Pass and Appleby's Sayyida.

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