Goodwood man Bentley’s royal flush

Harry Bentley     Picture by Dan Abraham /
Harry Bentley Picture by Dan Abraham /

Further proof that Goodwood racecourse ambassador Harry Bentley is a man with a contacts book to die for came when he rode a big-race double for the Qatari royal family at Newbury.

Sussex-born-and-bred Bentley rode his first winner only four years ago but is now in demand from some of the most influential figures in the Middle East – and the 22-year-old could now be eyeing a massive pay-day on October 5, when the €1m Arabian World Cup at Longchamp is run.

His possible date in Paris came about after he starred at the Dubai International Arabian Races – a stellar eight-race card for Purebred Arabians at Newbury, staged under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai.

Bentley scored twice for Qatar’s Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani, including on Djainka Des Forges in the Group 1 Shadwell Arabian Stallions Hatta International Stakes

“She showed just how good she is that day,” said Bentley. “She has been a little unlucky in the past and just needs a good stamina test. We went a very good gallop and she saw out every yard of it.

“She’s very genuine and hopefully we can be re-united in the Arabian World Cup – especially given it’s worth £800,000! I do enjoy riding Purebred Arabians and have enjoyed some success on them.”

The Storrington-born jockey is no stranger to big paydays, He splits his riding commitments between Qatar and the UAE during the winters and won the £160,000 President’s Cup in Abu Dhabi last year on another Arabian star, Naseem.

Bentley, sponsored by Racing UK TV, which broadcast the Newbury meeting, is excited the Arabian horse is getting its share in the spotlight closer to home.

“The breed is an integral part of Middle Eastern culture and it’s great the Arabian racing is now getting broader coverage in the UK,” he added. It was billed as the Champions Day’ of Arabian racing and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a fantastic day out, free to get in, and you see some of the best Arabians in the world.”