x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Grandstand entrance to UAE for jockey Harry Bentley

Harry Bentley is back in the UAE and will ride for Sheikh Fahad Al Thani this season with hopes to add to his 27 wins over the past two winters here.

Harry Bentley is considered one of the top young jockeys in Great Britain and has admirers among many trainers and owners.
Harry Bentley is considered one of the top young jockeys in Great Britain and has admirers among many trainers and owners.

Harry Bentley is to ride for Ali Rashid Al Raihe's Grandstand stables for the duration of the UAE season and will arrive in the next two weeks.

The 20-year-old jockey is considered one of the brightest talents in Europe and on his return to England in March next year he will ride for Sheikh Fahad Al Thani's burgeoning racing and bloodstock empire.

Bentley, who rode out his apprentice claim last month, will vie for mounts with Royston Ffrench, the senior rider for Al Raihe, as well as the Emirati apprentice Saeed Al Mazrooei.

"Ali said that he cannot promise me many rides but he has plenty of horses so I'm sure there will be opportunities," Bentley told The National. "I'll clearly also be a freelance, so I will be trying to get as many outside rides as I can."

Bentley has ridden 10 winners at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, and 27 winners in all during his past two winters in the UAE.

He rode out for Satish Seemar during those two seasons, but after he lost his weight concession this year the master of Zabeel stables cannot accommodate him.

"Satish told me that he couldn't take on another full-time [jockey]," Bentley said.

"With Satish I was always second in line, whereas this year it won't be quite like that as Ali also has Saeed Al Mazrooei, who is a good apprentice, and of course Royston is No 1."

Bentley's silky skills in the saddle in Britain for the past few seasons has attracted the interest of Sheikh Fahad.

He will also ride for the fledgling yard of Olly Stevens, who has been installed by Sheikh Fahad in a 50-box stables just outside London.

Bentley will be first rider to Stevens, while it is thought Jamie Spencer will be announced as the leading retained rider to the Sheikh's Pearl Bloodstock international operation, as well as Qatar Racing, which represents the racing interests of the Sheikh's brothers.

Sheikh Fahad's operation has mushroomed in the two years since it was set up with the help of David Redvers, his racing manager, who paid 2.5 million guineas for a three-parts brother to Authorized, the 2007 Derby winner, at the Tattersall's October yearling sale.

Under the Pearl Bloodstock banner there are now just over 50 horses in training, while there are around 25 horses that compete in the Qatar Racing silks.

"Pearl is the new Sheikh Mohammed [bin Rashid, Vice-President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai] influence on British racing," Bentley said. "It is great to be associated with the team and I am excited with what the future may hold.

"They are certainly the people to be getting involved with over the next few years.

"I'm only 20 years old and have a long time ahead of me. They don't want to pile pressure on me and throw me in the deep end. Maybe in the couple of years, I may be in the first jockey position.

"I am sure the person who is announced as first jockey will be more than willing to help me along. I am pretty new to the game, I'd like to think they will help and give me advice along the way."



twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE