Bentley scores on Vincy
Whyte-trained winner is his first ride at Happy Valley, after six rides at Sha Tin
Stationed in a high-rise hotel overlooking Happy Valley racecourse during a mandatory three-week quarantine for his three-month stint, English jockey Harry Bentley capitalised on unorthodox track research by making a perfect debut at the city circuit at Wednesday night's meeting by winning the Class 3 Pottinger Handicap over 2,200m on Vincy.
Making light of the quirky track's undulations and cambers, Bentley revelled in a dream baptism of fire by triumphing with his first ride at the course, as the Douglas Whyte-trained Vincy smashed the track record with his 2min 14.14sec. It bettered the 2min 14.88sec mark set by Helene Charisma in 2019.
Having just his seventh ride in Hong Kong, after six outings at Sha Tin last Saturday, the 28-year-old rider was jubilant after producing a poised, calculating ride aboard a galloper more renowned for near-misses than winning.
"A mixture of, I guess, a bit of relief - not that it's has been a long time coming or anything. This is only my first time riding here," he said. "It's great - first ride around Happy Valley to get a win on the board.
"I came early today and walked the track on my own. Just got a feel for the place, took it all in. Obviously, it walks differently to how it rides, but I was granted with a nice stall (2) and I was able to follow Joao (Moreira) around. There's no better person to follow.
"I've been watching racing here for the last couple of weeks while I've been in my hotel looking over the track, so to come here and win with my first ride is fantastic," he said. - HKJC