Atzeni And Bentley Re-Licenced By HKJC

Andrea Atzeni | HKJC

Former UK-based jockeys Andrea Atzeni and Harry Bentley have once again been granted licences by the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) for the upcoming season.

Atzeni is currently ranked fourth during the 2023/2024 season with 44 wins, and Bentley is enjoying his best season in Hong Kong with 34 winners.

Atzeni said, “I've had a fantastic time in Hong Kong. To be in the top five of the jockeys' championship for most of the season, to win two group races, and to be on 44 winners, was definitely more than I expected. Hopefully we can get to 50 or more winners from the meetings left–that'd be a nice mark to hit.

“I've been lucky that I've landed on a couple of horses that have allowed me to be competitive in group races, which I wasn't necessarily expecting. I got the ride on Lucky With You (Aus) (Arctie Schiller) by chance, and won a Class 2 and was placed twice at Group 1 level. And there's obviously Taj Dragon (Ire) (Mehmas {Ire}) too, who gave me my first group winner–he's been a really solid horse, as is Nimble Nimbus (NZ) (Sacred Falls {NZ}) who we've had a lot of fun with. And not forgetting Ka Ying Generation (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}), who was third in the Derby.”

Both Atzeni and Bentley were previously retained riders for Roger Varian. Atzeni will be riding his second full season in Hong Kong, while Bentley will enter his fourth year on the challenging circuit.

“Your contact base here is so important,” Bentley said. “The more time you spend here [in Hong Kong] the broader that can become, and the more confidence people have in you. I have a much bigger spread of trainers that are using me now, so going into next season, I feel like I have the backing you need to keep improving.

“When I first moved to Hong Kong, I came with the intention of making it a long-term fixture, so I'm delighted to have a licence for the 2024/25 season and I look forward to hopefully building on my tally of winners again. A half century or more next season would certainly be the aim.

“This season, we're on 34 winners versus 25 last season and there's still 10 fixtures to go, so hopefully we can get past the 40-mark. It was also important for me to get a group winner out here, so to win the G2 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy on Whizz Kid (Aus) (Shalaa {Ire}) was definitely one of the standout moments of the season. That, as well as getting my first treble at Happy Valley, were both great. I'm open to picking up rides over the summer in the UK, at Goodwood for example, but my main intention is to recharge the batteries for the 2024/25 Hong Kong season.”

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