Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Benbatl aims to follow up his impressive victory in the Singspiel Stakes three weeks ago in Thursday’s Al Rashidiya at Meydan.

Saeed bin Suroor’s charge finished fifth in the Derby and won last year’s Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot but after losing his way towards the end of the year in Britain, he bounced back to his best with a two-and-a-quarter-length victory in Group Three company.

He switches up to Group Two level this time and takes on six rivals including Mike de Kock’s Al Sahem, who will be having his first start for the yard but was previously a Grade One winner in South Africa.

Bin Suroor said: “I was pleased with Benbatl’s victory in the Singspiel Stakes three weeks ago and his latest piece of work went well. This looks to be another nice race for him and he is in good form at the moment.”

Fellow Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby fields Bay Of Poets, a Listed winner in France last year but four lengths behind Benbatl recently, and Bravo Zolo, who was a winner at the Carnival last year.

“Bay Of Poets was drawn out wide in the Singspiel Stakes and had to make up a lot of ground to get into a position. He was doing his best work at the end and I am hoping a repeat performance will put him thereabouts,” Appleby told

“I was delighted with Bravo Zolo’s first start in Dubai and he came out of that race well. We are stepping up two furlongs, but I think the distance will be comfortably within his reach as he has won over a similar distance before, albeit at a lesser level.”

The Al Fahidi Fort is the other Group Two on the card and Bin Suroor fields Dream Castle, who finished second in the Greenham and fifth in the 2,000 Guineas last term.

“Dream Castle was disappointing on his first start of the year but he needed the race. The drop back to seven furlongs should suit as he shows plenty of speed,” said Bin Suroor.

Appleby runs D’Bai, a recent winner, and Jungle Cat, who is having his first outing of the season.

“D’bai put up a very good performance on his first start of the year, when he broke the track record, and has come out of that race very well,” said Appleby.

“He has a similar profile to Safety Check, who won this race for us in 2015, in that he has thrived out in Dubai.

“Jungle Cat is a veteran out in Dubai and I think the step up to seven furlongs last year suited him. His home work has been good and he is a player in this race based on his best form.”

Championship, winner of the Zabeel Mile last year, and John Gosden’s former inmate Richard Pankhurst also feature in a nine-runner field.