Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor came to Moonee Valley hoping he had the horse to upset champion Winx’s bid for a fourth Cox Plate.
But in the end international visitor Benbatl was no match for Winx.
Winx defeated Benbatl by two lengths in the $5 million race, with last year’s runner-up Humidor third.
And bin Suroor, who labelled Winx “the best of the best”, was gracious in defeat.
“He was beaten by the superstar,” bin Suroor said.
“She’s an absolutely special filly.”
Bin Suroor, however, believes Benbatl would have been better suited with more give in the ground.
“He ran well, and I know the ground didn’t suit him today,” he said.
“That’s what I said before the race.
“But at the end of the day, she’s a superstar. I’m happy for them.
“And congratulations to the winning trainer, jockey and owners.”
Benbatl adds a Cox Plate second placing to his three Group One wins this year which have come in Dubai, Germany and Melbourne.
He won the Caulfield Stakes two weeks ago, while bin Suroor also prepared Best Solution to take out last Saturday’s $5 million Caulfield Cup.
The trainer said they would return for another crack at the race if the opportunity presented.
“If we have the right horse we’ll bring it,” he said.
Benbatl was ridden by English-based Irish jockey Oisin Murphy.
It was a second Group One second placing in 24 hours in Melbourne for Murphy after he was runner-up on Spirit Of Valor in Friday night’s Manikato Stakes.
“It was a big run,” Murphy said.
“We met a champion in Winx and she was very impressive today. Full credit to her team.”