He had primarily headed to Newcastle to ride his main trainer Ralph Beckett’s well-fancied Aloe Vera, who was then withdrawn from an earlier race.
Then Henry’s Candy’s veteran Limato, the horse that made him, triumphed at Newmarket with Adam Kirby in the saddle.
That Bentley appeared so calm and nerveless in the ‘Pitmen’s Derby’ is also testament to his maturity and appreciation that jockeys can not be at two courses simultaneously when fixtures clash.
Retained by Qatar Racing at an early stage in his career, he was then usurped by others. Despite a coming of age victory in the Group One Darley July Club on Limato in 2016, he can never be certain of the ride on the popular horse because Paul Jacobs is an owner who always has strong views on jockey arrangements.
Bentley was always prominent on Caravan Of Hope, who then kicked clear in the home straight, with David Egan on the runner-up, Australis, never in a position to mount a serious challenge. Collide, from the same stable as the winner, was third.
“From that draw (17), I was slightly concerned I would either be posted too wide or I’d sit further off the pace than ideal,” said Bentley. “But the way it turned out was perfect. I got a handy position one off the rail.
“I heard a bit of screaming behind me round the bottom bend – but you don’t mind when it’s behind you! I was always comfortable, he settled nicely and the step up in distance has been perfect for him. It’s a long last two furlongs here but he stuck it out very well.”
Disappointed not to have ridden Aloe Vera, Bentley was magnaminous after Limato recorded back-to-back wins in Newmarket’s Criterion Stakes.
“It wasn’t easy watching Limato win but I thought Adam (Kirby) gave him a fantastic ride. He looked very good off a long break,” he said. “It’s a shame I’m not riding but it’s nice to see him win, he’s a horse I’ve had a great connection with. It was great to see Limato get his head in front but it’s fantastic to win the Northumberland Plate.”
As for Caravan Of Hope and Collide, the result meant the world to Palmer, who has strong roots in the North-East.
“I didn’t know which one to cheer – I was just shouting ‘go on boys!’,” said Palmer in echoes of the phrase used by Michael Dickinson when the then Harewood trainer saddled the first five home in the 1983 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
“I’m a Newcastle United fan, I grew up just north of there, I went to university there – and the Plate is one of those races I’ve dreamt of winning.”
Palmer is already casting his mind forward to the next big-race target for both horses – with York looming large. “You’d think of the Ebor for both, but we can’t get carried away. Caravan Of Hope has won off 89, and he’ll need about 17lb to even get in. Collide is off 105, but wouldn’t have got in last year.”
Judicial may be getting on in terms of a sprinter but Julie Camacho’s eight-year-old appears to have found a new lease of life over six furlongs after laying down the law in the Chipchase Stakes in heavy rain.
Having been a reliable type just below the highest class for a number of years, all Judicial’s best form was over five furlongs – save for a handful of experimental runs over six.
However, the horse, trained at Malton by Julie Camacho, relished the step up in trip to deny the Kevin Ryan pair of Brando and Major Jumbo, and provide jockey Callum Rodriguez with a landmark first Group win.
Steve Brown, Camacho’s partner and assistant, said: “He keeps surprising us. When they get to eight you wonder if they are going to start regressing a touch – but he looks as good as ever.”
A thrilled Rodriguez said: “I’m over the moon. On his last run in the Palace House at Newmarket, I thought he’d go close – he ran a massive race behind a serious horse, and obviously it’s a shame his (Far Above’s) career his over. He’s unreal. He’s done all his racing over five. But we discussed it, and he’d been behind the bridle before finishing well, so it looked the time to step up him to six.”
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