British jockey Harry Bentley hopes his first Sha Tin winner will encourage more trainers and owners to take notice and book him with confidence.
The talented 28-year-old had a spring in his step as he left the races on Saturday after piloting Manfred Man Ka-leung’s veteran Red Elysees home in the Class Four Hydrangea Handicap (1,800m) to secure his second Hong Kong victory.
Bentley, who was competing at just his seventh meeting, now has a winner at each venue after lifting Vincy home at Happy Valley on April 21.
The result is a nice reward for effort and gives him some more encouragement as he continues to learn all the intricacies of riding in this unique jurisdiction.
“You need winners to keep you going so it’s always a good feeling,” Bentley said.
“It’s great to get on the board here at Sha Tin. Obviously I was lucky enough to have a Happy Valley win so to have a winner at both tracks is very important.
“It’s obviously an incredibly tough place here so to get another win is vital for both my confidence and my profile going forward.
“It just gives trainers that bit more confidence putting me on board next time.”
Bentley has been spending a lot of his time buried in the form guide to get up to speed and he had to go way back into the archives to find Red Elysees’ previous win.
“We only have racing two days a week but you can end up sat at the computer for hours on end just watching replays of racing and horses that you’ve been sent and asked to ride and looking at their form. The information is there for you, if you dig deep enough, you can find out anything,” he said.
“I had to look back to [February] 2019 when Silvestre de Sousa won on Red Elysees, so it’s been a while since he’s had his head in front but he’s been thereabouts. He was off the right mark today and everything fell into place.
“We were always in a good position. I swung out off the home turn and was able to get a nice, clear run at it and he finished off well.”
Bentley, who was champion jockey in Qatar for six consecutive years, is enjoying his time in Hong Kong and embracing all it has to offer.
“Especially with three weeks in quarantine, you’ve got an awful lot of time to think about what it might be like and what can I expect. You can watch as many replays as you want but you don’t know until you’re in the thick of it,” he said.
“I’m really enjoying the riding, obviously you’re in a pool with some really fantastic jockeys, the tracks are maintained incredibly well, everything is run very professionally, which I love. The lifestyle is good, I’m just getting into all of that, as well as the racing.”