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Bentley reigns supreme
Hisham Al Gizouli / 10 November 2012
Jockey Harry Bentley registered the first hat-trick of the new season after the Englishman brought home three of his six mounts in the opening day of the Meydan fourth season at the iconic venue here on Thursday.
Having finished 9th astride Lake Hawak behind stable-mate Dubai Iconic in the Emirates Skycargo Maiden, the curtain raiser of the evening, Bentley was piped close home by Skycruiser under Marc Monaghan in the second, Emirates Holidays Handicap and disappointed in the third race when finished poor 9th Lion Sands aboard Enjoy Today.But, that was not everything as Bentley went on from race four to land a stunning treble which raised many question marks about how do top jockeys select their mounts when they have more than one option in any individual race?
Bentley has just lost his apprentice allowance after he partnered Godolphin’s Al Basharah to victory at Kempton Park on October 31 for trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
His first victory of the local season came with veteran Rochdale in the 2,000m Skywards handicap, a race which the nine-year-old son Bertolini has won for the third successive year.
Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe said: “I didn’t like to see Zain Shamardal showing this speed at the start. I was expecting jockey Royston Ffrench to hold the colt in 7th or 8th place in the early stage of the trip.”
Bentley said: “I am really pleased that Al Raihe has taken me on this season and am looking forward to a busy campaign. We have plenty of nice horses and I was delighted to get the mount on one of the yard’s favourite horses.”
The feature race of the evening a 1600m Emirates Airline Conditions has attracted quality field of nine runners headed by the Jebel Ali Stakes (Listed) and Jebel Ali Sprint (Listed) champion Treble Jig. And with second jockey of Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Minister of Finance, Dane O’Neill opting to go for Haatheq, Bentley was offered to ride Barbecue Eddie by trainer Doug Watson. And once, again, the second choice was the right choice.
Watson said: “He never runs a bad race on this all-weather surface and Harry has given him a nice ride. I was a bit concerned about 1,600m first time out but he did it nicely and ran on strongly.
“There is a 1,400m race for him next month but we will wait and see and of course there is the Dubai World Cup Carnival and perhaps even a look at the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1.”
“Everything went pretty much to plan and it is great to see the horse win this race again.”
Bentley then completed his treble with the smooth success of the much improved Garbah in the concluding 1,200m handicap with the pair making virtually all. A delighted Bentley said: “That completes an amazing night and it is great to be back. She travelled so strongly and I was never really worried.”
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