Harry Bentley: answered a late call-up to ride in the main eventPICTURE: Getty Images
Bentley bags landmark win on Roi De Vitesse
Report: Qatar, Tuesday
Al Rayyan: Qatar 2022 Invitation Cup (Group 3) 6f, turf, 3yo+
HARRY BENTLEY took an away-day from his winter job in Dubai on Tuesday by answering a late call-up to ride in the main event on the opening day of Qatar's biggest meeting of the year, and came away with his first winner in the country.
Taking over from originally-declared Irish apprentice Marc Monaghan, who is also wintering in Dubai, Bentley produced Bahrain-trained Roi De Vitesse with a late run to win the £67,500 first prize by three quarters of a length.
Runner-up Abeer came even later on the scene but could not collar the six-year-old winner, who was sold out of Rod Millman's yard for 39,000gns at the Tattersalls October horses-in-training sale in 2009.
Hototo, another Tattersalls' purchase, who cost 120,000gns last October after racking up £258,000 in prize-money during a successful sales-race dominated two-year-old career with Kevin Ryan, fared far better than on his Dubai debut for Bahrain trainer Fawsi Nass. He was a further neck behind in third for Luke Morris.
To complete a successful race for Bahraini interests, Bazaruto, who was recently bought by Qatari connections, was a short head away in fourth, a neck ahead of last year's race winner Collect Art, with Hototo's stablemate Lui Rei close up in sixth.
The meeting opened with another British debut win in Qatar, when Freddie Mitchell took the lead in the season-long Fegentri men's amateur riders' world championship by winning a 7f conditions race on Majd Al Shajaa.
Twice successful now from three rides in the series, his latest win in 25C heat could hardly have been achieved in more contrasting circumstances to the first, which came on ice and snow in St Moritz.
An uninspiring set of recent form figures offered Mitchell little pre-race confidence on Tuesday, but the five-year-old stayed on stoutly in the straight after being taken off his feet in the early stages, and leading a furlong out, he held off Germany's Dennis Schiergen on Honest Prospector by half a length.
Mitchell said: "I was flat to the boards from the jump-off and got trapped on the rail. I knew there was no way through, so I switched him to the outside and he surprised me by picking up the leaders.
Mitchell can look forward to many more first experiences on racecourses around the world, as he attempts to follow the example of last year's Fegentri champion, Irishman Steve Crawford.
"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "It's like a gap year without going to school."