Riding a winner at the Qatar Goodwood Festival – or Glorious Goodwood as it is traditionally known – is one of the best feelings, writes jockey Harry Bentley.
I broke my duck at the festival last year courtesy of Inland Sea in the opening-day maiden, and followed up on Thursday in the Group Three Markel Insurance Fillies’ Stakes.
The win gave me an awful lot of pleasure for a couple of reasons.
First, Goodwood is my local track. I have also acted as the official Goodwood ambassador in the past and, in my eyes, the course is the most picturesque in the UK, if not the world.
The other reason was that the winner Simple Verse is owned by Qatar Racing, whose owners I had parted company with the previous year.
Qatar Racing didn’t have to use me, but it showed there was no bad blood at all and hopefully they will look to use me again.
It was a great occasion afterwards and it meant a lot to me to win such a big race in those maroon colours.
My links to Qatar are still strong. I have been champion jockey there for the past three years and am retained by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani, who has a dozen or so horses.
But the UK is my home and I am desperate to make it here, so that’s why my first Group 1 win on Limato in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket on July 9 meant so much to me.
It was a fantastic feeling, amazing. It is not easy to get on a Group 1 horse, let alone win one and it is everything that we jockeys strive for.
There was talk of Limato going for the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, but I think the race will come too soon for him and we may wait for the big race at Deauville in August.
It’s too early to know what I’ll be riding at Goodwood but I’ve had a close look at the some of the key races and hopefully can unearth a winner or two for the readers.
Lumiere showed she was back to her best with a bloodless win at Newmarket last time, which followed a very disappointing run in the 1000 Guineas. She is a Group 1 winner so the Group 2 Lennox Stakes should be within her range and I’d fancy her to make the headlines on the opening day.
I can’t see past Galileo Gold in the big race of the week, the Sussex Stakes. Hugo Palmer, who I rode for last season, has enjoyed two massive wins with him already this season in the 2000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes, and this should be the third. He won at the meeting last year and beat a stellar field at Royal Ascot last month.
Big Orange won the Qatar Goodwood Cup last year and he seems an even better horse this season. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t follow up.
Easton Angel could be good each-way value to reach the frame in the Qatar King George Stakes on Friday. She seems to be improving with every run and is apparently a better filly than her stablemate, the brilliant Mecca’s Angel at equivalent points of their careers.
I can’t see beyond Minding winning the Qatar Nassau Stakes on Saturday. It’s not original but she looks an absolute superstar, while Brando, who has only been out of the first four twice in his 13 runs and has a touch of class, looks another solid each-way proposition in the Qatar Stewards’ Cup, also on Saturday.
* Harry Bentley is sponsored by Racing UK – broadcast partner of Goodwood. Racing UK (Sky 432, Virgin 536/411 and Freeview 231) is the only channel broadcasting all 36 Qatar Goodwood Festival races live. Coverage – in HD – starts at 1pm each day. Buy a Racing UK Day Pass and watch the racing you want whenever you want it. They’ve made it easier to watch Racing UK wherever you are, introducing the ability to pay via your mobile phone bill. For more visit racinguk.com/daypass
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