Harry Bentley has been the star turn in Qatar over the last couple of seasons and the youthful Englishman is looking to Limato (IRE) to provide him with a first Dubai World Cup night winner in the Al Quoz Sprint sponsored by Azizi Developments.
Bentley has four times being crowned champion jockey in Doha but has drawn a blank in seven previous mounts under the dazzling Meydan lights.
But all that could change thanks the Henry Candy-trained Limato, who provided the jockey with a first-ever Group 1 success in the 1200m July Cup — staged over the same trip as Saturday’s race — at Newmarket last summer.
“This is my fifth time riding on Dubai World Cup night and it is brilliant to be going there with such a good ride,” said Bentley. “He would be the best horse I have ridden at this meeting.
“I have had a good time in Qatar and am leading the jockeys’ championship so I am pleased about that and have had five winners here in Dubai.
“I have been going to Qatar the last four years now and have been Champion Jockey every year and last year was my best season with 105 winners. I have had a really good time over there and things are still going well.”
Limato has won six of his 12 starts with the July Cup being the highlight, but he also landed the Group One Prix de la Foret on Arc weekend in Paris and signed off the campaign with a sixth-placed finish in the Breeders’ Cup Mile in California.
“We learned a lot about the horse going to America as he had never been away but he took it brilliantly and he was a real pro. He has settled into the routine well here and is a good traveller,” Bentley continued.
“After here the obvious target is the Diamond Jubilee and 1200m at Ascot will suit him well and there is a good but of time between now and then for him to recover.”
Limato is one of the leading chances in the Al Quoz and Bentley is wary of local challenge Ertijaal (IRE), a horse who finished second to Australian star Buffering in the race last year.
“I think the track will suit him great and the race looks plenty competitive,” said Bentley. “Ertijaal looks an obvious contender and there should be plenty of pace and it should suit him.
“It looks a strong field but we have beaten Jungle Cat (IRE) in the July Cup and have a few angles covered but the main disadvantage is that we haven’t had a run and many others have.
“He ran last October in the Breeders’ Cup so hasn’t had a run for five months, but Mr Candy is happy with him and he seems in good spirits.”
With several jockeys’ champions on his mantelpiece along with the July Cup, the Al Quoz trophy would surely, and rightly, take pride of place for the UAE-loving Bentley.