Opportunity knocks for Bentley

Possessing a sense of calmness and having the ability to handle pressure are necessary requirements every jockey needs to have in their armoury if they are to succeed at the top.

Limato stretches his legs on the track at Santa Anita.

Few occasions require the need for both qualities more than the Breeders' Cup, a meeting in which the appetite and desire for success is, in many ways, greater than most others.

While Harry Bentley is no stranger to riding on the biggest stage, he will have his skills in the saddle given a stern test on Saturday when he breaks new ground by taking his first ride at the world-famous meeting aboard Limato in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

"I'm completely excited. It's a brilliant thing to look forward to as it is a massive event and it is great to go into such a prestigious event with such a good ride," said Bentley, 24.

"I've ridden Limato a few times going into Group One races as favourite and we've had some pretty exciting days so far and this is right up there with them.

"I'm looking forward to the big occasion. He has had a long campaign, but he is in great spirit and is very well.

"It doesn't faze me not have ridden the track (in a race). Experience is a bonus and it is incredibly important to have it, but that is why I've headed out early to do a bit of track work and a little bit of homework before the day.

"I know the horse very well, which is a massive advantage, but I imagine I will have some butterflies going into the race."

The Newmarket-based rider may lack the track experience of some of his weighing-room colleagues, but there is no questioning his ability to perform at the top table having already partnered the Henry Candy-trained four-year-old to glory in this year's July Cup and Prix de la Foret.

"Coming into the year you couldn't flaw his form and I knew I had something to look forward to. I think winning a Group One was certainly the target," said Bentley.

"Each year he has come out better and he was incredibly impressive in the July Cup.

"Looking at the form before the race in France he was by far the best horse on paper, but he still had to execute it.

"The July Cup was special as it was my first Group One in Britain. I had my brother there and quite a few friends but, that said, take nothing away from the win in France.

"Mr Candy is a fantastic trainer and he knows the horse so well and that has been the making of the horse."

Despite some questioning the ability of Limato to handle the mile trip, having finished fourth on his sole try over that distance in the Lockinge at Newbury in May, Bentley does not fall into that category.

He said: "I thought after his run in the Lockinge it was certainly not off the cards going for it (mile) again.

"It was his first run of the season and the ground was softer than ideal. I thought he ran a great race.

"He was last off the bridle and he just got tired in the last furlong.

"The quick ground around a bend will be better for him and I am very confident in him.

"I think the Sprint was the obvious race, but I think Mr Candy wanted to go over a mile again with him.

"They do go so fast over the six and a half furlongs there and if he slightly missed it (the break), the race would have got away before it had started so I am totally behind this decision. "

Although much of the pre-race build-up has focused around the clash between Limato and star American mare Tepin, Bentley is of the opinion that it is anything but a two-horse race.

"Tepin is a fantastic horse and she will take all the beating. It is exciting going into a race with such a good line-up," said Bentley

"Alice Springs certainly doesn't look out of place. She is a brilliant filly that has already won three Group Ones.

"Last time it was a bit of a muddling race for Tepin. The horse that went out in front (Photo Call) was a stayer and they gave her too much of a lead.

"I don't think they will let that same mistake happen again.

"I'm not going to be trailblazing on Limato, but as we saw last time Tepin can be beaten. I've had a great year with Limato and thoroughly enjoyed riding him.

"It would be an amazing way to end the season if we won. I can't begin to say just how much it would mean."

Read More at Sporting Life

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