The Cambridgeshire Meeting continued at Newmarket on Friday 24th September with two Group Two contests headlining the seven-race programme.
The courageous Benbatl dug deep to make history by becoming the first dual winner of the Group Two Unibet “You’re On” Joel Stakes while Hello You was the worthy and deserved heroine of the Group Two Unibet Rockfel Stakes.
We sent Graham Clark along to speak to the winners on the day….
“HORSE OF A LIFETIME” BENBATL CREATES HISTORY WITH SECOND JOEL STAKES SUCCESS
Champion jockey Oisin Murphy described Benbatl as a “horse of a lifetime” after writing his name in the record books with a second success in the Unibet “You’re On”Joel Stakes.
Despite being the joint oldest runner in the field at the age of seven, the Saeed bin Suroor-trained son of Dubawi, returned at 13-8, showed he still has plenty of life left in him when following up his 2019 victory in the to become the first dual winner of the mile Group Two contest.
All eyes before the race were on Godolphin’s other runner and 11-8 favourite Master Of The Seas, who was making his first start since finishing second in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. However, he had to play a supporting role back in third on this occasion.
The Charlie Hills-trained Pogo ensured there was to be no hanging about in the mile feature after setting a ferocious pace which gave the prominently ridden Benbatl the perfect tow into contention.
Moving on deep inside the final furlong Benbatl, who provided Murphy with his first Royal Ascot winner in the 2017 Hampton Court Stakes, kept on finding all the way to the line to claim victory by three quarters of a length from Pogo.
Victory was secured in a new course record time of 1 minute 34.56 seconds, which eclipsed Kameko’s previous record of 1 minute 34.72 seconds which was set in last year’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas.
Murphy, who was winning the race for a fourth time having also scored on Beat The Bank (2017) and Kameko (2020), said: “He has been a machine for a number of years. He gave me my first ever Royal Ascot winner in 2017 and we are in 2021 now, four years later, and he is still winning Group Twos. He is the horse of a lifetime.
“When he won this race in 2019 he ran to a mark of 125 and he is one of the best horses I’ve ridden. I’m thrilled we have got him back on track.
“They have done a super job at the stable to produce him year in, year out. He has done it on dirt and turf and outside of Andrew Balding, Saeed is probably my biggest supporter and all these black type races are what it is all about.”
As for Newmarket handler bin Suroor, who was winning the race for a record-equalling fourth time with Satchem (2006) and Creachadoir (2007) also among his quartet, he hailed Benbatl as “the leader of his stable”.
Bin Suroor said: “He is tough and always tries his best. He has won this race twice and he has won in Germany, Australia and Dubai.
“He is the leader of the stable really and we follow him. He is the horse that has given us many Group One winners.
“He missed the break at Goodwood and immediately after the race I was talking to Oisin and he said, ‘If I hadn’t missed the break he would have won’.
“He is tough and the best thing for him is when I give him a break as he comes back and runs well. He looks good when I give him time between races.
“We will keep the options open for him as he could go to Champions Day but we will talk to Sheikh Mohammed in a few days. He could go to the Breeders’ Cup but we will see.
“It means a lot to me as he one of our best horses in the stable as a Group One winner. We have a lot of fun with him. He is getting old but is tough and everyone in the stable loves him.”
DESERVED SUCCESS FOR HELLO YOU IN UNIBET ROCKFEL STAKES AND THE BREEDERS’ CUP COULD BE NEXT
Rossa Ryan hailed his victory aboard Hello You as “right up there with his best” after steering her to the biggest victory of her career in the Unibet Rockfel Stakes.
The daughter of Invincible Spirit gained her first success since joining David Loughnane from Ralph Beckett last month when finally adding to her impressive debut success at Wolverhampton back in May with victory in the Group Two prize.
Having finished third at the same level in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes at the Moët & Chandon July Festival and third the time before in the Group Three Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, it was very much a deserved pattern race success for Hello You.
In a race ultimately few got into, the 7-1 chance powered through under Ryan inside the final quarter of a mile of the seven furlong contest before drawing away to defeat the George Boughey-trained Cachet by a length and a half.
Ryan said: “She became very keen after her win at Wolverhampton and we just were struggling to get her together on track, especially changing yards as well.
“The hood made a big difference and she has turned a corner and mentally matured up. She is going the right way. I think she is only going to fill into a good three year old.
“She handled the track brilliant and going up to a mile will be no problem. She is going the right way and one to look forward to. This win sits right up there with my best.”
A trip to the Del Mar for a tilt at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf could now be on the agenda for Hello You, which she was introduced at 10-1 for by Paddy Power.
Loughnane said: “A good horse can go on any ground. I said beforehand she is a Group horse and she deserves a Group win beside her name and she has proved that today.
“She is just very enthusiastic and we wanted to help here settle a little bit which she has shown in all three runs for us. She has got better each time.
“She over raced for the first half of the race in York and she settled better at Goodwood and today she has travelled like a dream. I couldn’t be happier with the way she travelled.
“Today was the plan and we got the job done. I know Kia (Joorabchian, owner) is very keen to potential take a crack at the Juvenile Fillies’ Turf at Del Mar at the Breeders’ Cup in November.
“We’ve always felt she would be better over the mile going forward anyway and she just outstayed them today. She galloped, she travelled and she settled beautifully through the race.
“She got a good tow into it. Two and a half out she looked the winner and I don’t think she was ever threatened from there.
“I’m very grateful for Amo Racing and the team to entrusting us with such quality animals and giving us the chance to show what we are capable off given the right horse.”
FORBEARANCE REGISTERS BIGGEST CAREER VICTORY IN GROUP THREE UNIBET PRINCESS ROYAL STAKES
Jockey Shane Foley is confident Forbearance can be “competitive” at the highest level if she maintains her rapid level of improvement after securing the biggest success of her career to date in the Unibet Princess Royal Stakes.
Making her eighth start since the start of the year, the Jessica Harrington-trained four year old showed no signs of a busy season catching up with her when coming from last to first to claim her first Group Three success, having finished third at the same level last time out at Leopardstown.
Although one of the first ones off the bridle the 4-1 chance swept past the majority of her rivals before joining 3-1 favourite Sayyida and long-time leader Mystery Angel at the head of the field approaching the final two furlongs of the mile and a half contest.
Moving on into a clear lead inside the final furlong, Forbearance continued to pull clear of those in behind to eventually cross the line two and a half lengths ahead of Sayyida, with Sea La Rosa a further two lengths away in third.
Foley said: “She really enjoys that fast ground and a strong-run race suits her. She is a good stayer and is an improved filly. Hopefully she can stay in training next year.
“She picked up well but they went a nice gallop. When she relaxes, she has that turn of foot as she can be a bit over-generous.
“She was off the bridle all the way today and that suited her as she picked up well.”
Asked if he believes she can go on to succeed at an even higher level, Foley replied: “I think so. If she could do the same next year she could be competitive in those good races.
“She does take her races well and she can’t have the ground fast enough. I think she will get further.”
NOTHING CARELESS ABOUT WHISPER’S WINNING RETURN AFTER 180 DAYS OFF THE TRACK
Saeed bin Suroor’s plan to supply Frankie Dettori with a winner came together in style as Soft Whisper made her first start in Britain this year a successful one in the Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day EBF Rosemary Stakes at Newmarket.
Despite not being sighted since failing to beat a rival in the Group Two UAE Derby at Meydan in March, the Dubawi filly proved she was ready to roll after a 180 day absence when scoring at Listed level for the second time in her career in the mile event.
The 13-2 chance, who claimed Listed glory in the UAE 1000 Guineas in January, moved past early pace-setter and eventual runner-up Maamora inside the final quarter of a mile of the race, before claiming victory by a length and three quarters, despite drifting right late on to give Dettori a quick-fire near 17-1 double.
Bin Suroor said: “She had a little bit of a setback. We ran her in Dubai, then we took her Saudi and then we took her back to Dubai. It was a hard time for her during the winter in Dubai.
“Physically she has improved since Dubai and has got much better with age. She is a good filly that is very honest and works well.
“I knew today she would have a good chance of winning so that is why I gave her to Frankie (Dettori). She did drift but it could have been the ground as she is fine after the race.”
Assessing future plans the Newmarket trainer hinted that Soft Whisper could now return to Dubai early next year for another winter campaign.
Bin Suroor added: “There are no immediate plans for her. She is entered in a Group One in France but she is unlikely to run.
“It is more likely we will take her back to Dubai for the Balanchine and Cape Verdi.”
FRONT-RUNNING WITHOUT A FIGHT SETS UP GROUP RACE RETURN WITH LISTED SUCCESS ON THE ROWLEY MILE
Without A Fight set up a return to Group race company after putting in a courageous effort from the front to secure Listed honours in the mile and a half Play Slingo Starburst At Unibet Godolphin Stakes.
Having secured a confidence boosting success dropped back down to handicap company at Haydock Park last time out, the Simon and Ed Crisford-trained gelding appeared to have no problem following that victory up stepped up in class.
With 6-5 favourite Star Safari weakening fading out of contention a long way from home and John Leeper appearing to struggle with the quick conditions, it left Fox Tal to take it to the long-time leader.
Try as Fox Tal might, Without A Fight was not for passing with two and three quarter lengths separating the pair at the line.
Ed Crisford said of the 11-4 winner: “The ground was good for him today and a mile and a half seems to be his trip.
“He won the last day which was a bit of a confidence booster on quick ground. He has got his confidence back up and it was a nice performance.
“Andrea (Atzeni, jockey) was building it up and a lot of horses were winning from the front and he just ground it out.
“I would say he would be around next year. The St Simon Stakes, which is a Group Three (at Newbury), could be his sort of thing but we will see how the ground is like and how he is.
“He could be one for those mile and a half races in Dubai next year but we haven’t got that far yet.”