Winx parades around after winning a third Cox Plate. Picture: Ian Currie
Winx parades around after winning a third Cox Plate. Picture: Ian Currie

International rival confirms to take on Winx

WINX will have at least one international challenger in her quest to win her fourth Cox Plate as the world's biggest racing outfit Godolphin announced they will take her on with Benbatl.

Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor let the Moonee Valley Racing Club know on Sunday that he had accepted their invitation for Benbatl to contest this year's $5 million Cox Plate in Melbourne on Saturday, 27 October.

Benbatl was one of 13 international horses issued invitations by the MVRC early last month.

Benbatl won the Group 1 Dubai Turf winner in March this year.

He will take his first step towards the Cox Plate with his next run in the Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis-Bayeriches Zuchtrennen at Munich on Sunday, 29 July.

"I have spoken to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, and he has decided to take up the invitation issued to Godolphin for Benbatl," Bin Suroor said from Newmarket.

Hugh Bowman pilots Winx to a record-equalling third Cox Plate last year. Picture: AAP
Hugh Bowman pilots Winx to a record-equalling third Cox Plate last year. Picture: AAP

"Being a winner of the Dubai Turf over 1800m and the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes, over 2000m 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." 

At his last start Benbatl finished tenth in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Benbatl is a $26 chance in the Cox Plate with Ladbrokes.

Jockey Hugh Bowman after riding Winx to victory acknowledges the crowd at Moonee Valley. Picture: Lawrence Pinder
Jockey Hugh Bowman after riding Winx to victory acknowledges the crowd at Moonee Valley. Picture: Lawrence Pinder

Racing Victoria's international recruiter Paul Bloodworth intends to speak to his trainer Charlie Appleby about a possible return for this year's Cox Plate during his international recruiting mission.

Meanwhile, Richard Freedman's United States experiment with Sarrasin didn't get off to a good start when he was last throughout and finished in that position at Belmont Park on Sunday.

Freedman tweeted that he didn't reckon on a time of 1.32 minutes for 1600m on a very firm track.

He added that Sarrasin got run off his legs with the speed and felt the ground.

"Seems to have pulled up OK, just felt the ground. We're deflated but not defeated."

Sarrasin was ridden by Regan Bayliss who will partner Redkirk Warrior in the July Cup next Saturday at Newmarket.

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