Hurdle Champion Dave Bentley Retires

Two-time NSA jockey champion Dave Bentley announced his retirement at the start of the 2005 fall season. Bentley, 35, began riding in the U.S. in 2000 and won championships in 2002 and 2003.

A native of the British Isles, Bentley leaves with 72 American steeplechase wins and $1,855,883 in earnings over six seasons. He rode extensively in his home country, winning 68 races through 1999. Bentley was the regular jockey of $500,000 earner Tres Touche, who won 10 races including two grade I stakes. Bentley won 18 races in each of his title years.

A combination of recent injuries and a sub-par year convinced Bentley to give up competitive jumping. He missed the last meet of the 2004 season after a hard fall at Montpelier in November and suffered a broken rib and a punctured lung in a fall at Colonial Downs in July 2005. As a result, Bentley's victory total for 2005 was just four.

"I've been tying to put it off and put it off," he said of the decision to retire. "I planned to ride during the fall and finish up the season, but I wasn't enjoying it like I used to. It's a young man's game. I enjoyed every minute of it. I won't miss the race riding, but I think I'll miss the lads, the banter, the getting ready to go racing, all that goes into it."

Bentley owns a small farm near Fair Hill, Md. with wife Fenneka and plans to continue his work as an exercise rider for flat trainer Graham Motion while pursuing other opportunities.