Harry Bentley took full advantage of a good draw aboard Turin Redstar at Happy Valley first-up and he hopes to repeat the dose on Wednesday night.
The English jockey produced a peach of a ride on the new addition to the Douglas Whyte stable last month, hunting up from barrier two and forcing his rivals to work harder before slotting in one-out, one-back and it proved the difference as he saluted by a neck.
The Class Three Harbour Handicap (1,800m) shapes as a very similar contest with Turin Redstar poised to get another gun run in transit after landing the inside alley.
“I wanted to have a nice handy position last time from a good draw and there was quite a bit of pace early doors as we were vying for positions, so I just had to hold my ground and wait it out,” Bentley said.
“It ended up being the perfect position so hopefully I can do something similar. Everyone knows barrier one at Happy Valley is a good advantage, so I’ll be using it.
“He was fast enough into stride last time over 1,650m, so being a little bit further he should have enough pace to make use of the draw. If I can slot in box seat that would be ideal.
“He obviously went up five points for that [win], which was understandable. The trip – I don’t see that being a problem – he’s a tough horse and if he can put in a performance like he did last time, he should be thereabouts.”
The race looks a good one for Turin Redstar, who is still 26 ratings points below his peak of 95 from two years ago, particularly after the draw.
With just nine rivals – all of whom are exposed – the speed map seems relatively straightforward as well with World Famous and Blastoise likely to take up the running from gates nine and 10, respectively.
From his barrier, Turin Redstar should be able to push up and slot in just behind.
The Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained World Famous (Vagner Borges) might present the biggest danger if he gets his own way in front after a narrow second first-up while Tony Millard’s Yoo Yoo King (Karis Teetan) caught the eye when finishing third at the city track four weeks ago.
Turin Redstar is one of four rides on the night for Bentley, who continues to press his claims for more opportunities.
The 29-year-old has only had six rides on horses who have started single-figure odds so far this season, but he is getting results, converting them into two wins and two placings.
“You need good horses to win races,” Bentley said. “I feel I’m fully capable of doing the job when I get the opportunities. I’m happy enough with the start I’ve made – always like to be riding more winners of course – but I feel like I’m doing the best job on the horses I’m on.”
There are a couple of other things to look out for at Wednesday night’s Happy Valley meeting, starting with Jerry Chau Chun-lok’s quest to complete his apprenticeship.
The 21-year-old needs just one more victory to outride his five-pound claim and become a senior jockey and he’ll have six opportunities to get there with Happy Good Guys, Xponential and Transcendent all looking like winning hopes.
Meanwhile, Paul O’Sullivan remains the only trainer without a win this campaign and he saddles up six of his own as he tries to break the drought but the barrier gods have not been kind to him with his best hopes – Shinealot (12), Faribault (10), Destin (12) and Spontaneous (12) – all handed double-digit gates.