By Declan Schuster/Hong Kong Jockey Club
Hong Kong: Harry Bentley is eager to test his mettle in Hong Kong when he kicks off his short-term contract on Saturday at Sha Tin with six rides.
Signed on to ride until the conclusion of this season, Bentley, 28, arrives with a wealth of international experience – grounding he hopes holds him in good stead for the challenging cauldron of Hong Kong racing.
“It was definitely a surprise but a very welcome surprise – I’ve already said it a few times but I always really wanted to come out here at one stage and give it a go because I feel like I fit the mould quite well, I’ve got some good international experience and my weight is really good,” Bentley said.
Bentley is best-known for his association with Limato, on whom he won both the July Cup and Prix de la Foret in 2016. He has ridden more than 1,000 winners, among them 41 at Group and Listed level.
Also a six-time champion jockey in Qatar, he will complete his three weeks of mandatory quarantine at midnight on Thursday and is looking forward to being in the thick of the action in two days’ time, rather than watching on from the confines of a hotel room in view of the bright lights at Happy Valley.
“I’m chomping at the bit, I feel good and obviously I haven’t sat on a horse since I’ve been here which is close to a month now, but that won’t be a problem and now seems the perfect time to give it a go. I have good experience behind me, but I’m still quite young also,” Bentley said.
“I’m under no illusions in how competitive this place is, it’s a very good pool of jockeys to compete against and I’m managing my expectations but at the same time I want to give it my all – you have to be confident in your own abilities.
“If I came in here with no confidence, I may as well not bother, I’m definitely coming in with managed expectations but at the same time I’m confident in my abilities.”
Bentley’s international experience had not included Hong Kong until this weekend, when his campaign kicks off aboard Telecom Missile in the opening race of the ten-race fixture.
“I’ve definitely formed an opinion of my rides and to be honest, I’m very used to riding on dirt tracks too, I’ve ridden a lot at Meydan in Dubai as well as Saudi Arabia too,” he said.
Bentley’s first look at Sha Tin comes on the turf but he also has three rides on the dirt, firstly aboard Gameplayer Times for trainer Douglas Whyte.
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