It’s not exactly a secret with many in the horse racing tribe that signing on and receiving a license from the Hong Kong Jockey Club to be a jockey or a horse trainer is not that different to making a pact with the devil- even if the devil might look like Liz Hurley.
Jockey Harry Bentley might be thinking about this after what has been one of the more upside down fruitcake cases between a rather naive jockey and the mighty Club.
Who knows what really happened, but something happened somewhere in time that went against The Rules of the Hong Kong Jockey Club that has seen Bentley spanked with a fine of HK$300,000 and suspended for quite a few race meetings.
SCMP racing writer Sam Agars attempted to inform those knee deep in horse racing about the state of play, but it was a rambling piece of prose about something that’s silly and confusing, to say the least.
Even more confusing was this statement/apology from jockey Bentley the next day where he simply fell on his sword and begged his masters for mercy:
How did all this something about nothing that only helps to shine a very bright light on something not unlike a student in a primary school being spanked by the headmaster for not having his hymn book at assembly?
The Bentley Case opens up a can of worms with there being more questions than answers. It’s something not good for Hong Kong nor the Hong Kong racing product at a time when the images of both are on the line. For the horse racing, it would appear that in the blue corner and representing the HKJC is Chief Racing Steward Mark van Gestel.
Formerly the head racing steward with Racing New South Wales, van Gestel, like jockey Bentley is still new to Hong Kong and the modus operandi of the HKJC.
Some might think that both are also completely lost as to how the Hong Kong racing rumour mill works, those parasitic characters who are part of the racing game and why even if there’s nothing much of anything going on, there soon will be something. Some of those who see themselves as “influencers” in this racing bubble and with that herd mentality are using the word “transparency” as to why this incident became public. Some others are talking about a lack of transparency. Transparency? Really? About THIS non story??? To the casual reader, it would seem that all this bloated bleeding and repenting could have been dealt far better behind closed doors and between a few adults. It could have done without opening Pandora’s box and letting out all kinds of weird vibes at a time when the racing world is looking at next month’s Hong Kong International Races. Could the timing for The Harry Bentley Show on the bumpy road to nowhere have BEEN any worse? Does it not make the somewhat rickety image of the HKJC with its recent spate of bad feng shui moments- race falls, horses having to be euthanised, a dwindling horse population and a racing product that, simply put, is dullsville- make everything look even more creaky and creepy? What’s always interesting these days about cases and news involving the HKJC is who is attributed with the quotes for public consumption. It’s become a fun game by those on the sidelines watching the well orchestrated theatre of the absurd taking place.
If betting people, we’d say no one’s going to come out looking good in this game of charades and how it might just create a new litter of gremlins and bring back ghosts from the past that have been brushed under the Tai Ping carpet for decades.
Or is this silly little game a precursor of something bigger to come?