Richard Bensley aboard You're Canny. Photo: Stuart Walmsley
CANBERRA-BASED jockey Richard Bensley has already scored more winners at Canberra this season than he did for the entire season prior.
The former Canberra Jockey of the Year rediscovered his best form last Tuesday, scoring two wins and three minor placings from seven rides at Thoroughbred Park.
In the lead-up to the meeting, Bensley said he was confident he would have a strong day in the saddle.
''I had some good rides on paper so I just needed a touch of luck, and I ended up thereabouts in most of them,'' he said.
Bensley, who saluted the judge on only four occasions in his 63 rides at Thoroughbred Park last season, has scored five winners already this season at a strike rate of better than 12 per cent. He is also proving much more consistent at Canberra, with a strike rate of 42.5 per cent for placings, compared with a lowly 14.3 per cent last season.
A stint overseas last season can be partly attributed to Bensley's lull in form, but the locally based jockey now believes he is back to his best.
''I didn't have a full season, last season,'' said Bensley. ''It took me a little bit of time to get back in to the swing of things, but it's kicking over nicely now.''
Bensley felt his ride on the Mark Schmetzer-trained Bella Kuria in the Myer Fashions On The Field Class 2 Handicap on Tuesday was his best chance for the meeting.
The three-year-old Choisir filly duly won by 1-¼ lengths over the 1000-metre trip, beating home another local galloper, Oyster Bell.
''I was very confident with her,'' Bensley said. ''She's going to develop into a nice filly.''
''She's only three, so she's still only a baby, and I think she's going to go through her grades pretty easily.''
Bensley's other winner was Count Libretto in the Seears Workwear Maiden Plate over 1400 metres.
The Nick Olive-trained Librettist gelding stormed home to beat local gallopers Katique and Inner Beauty in a blanket finish.
''He had the blinkers on for the first time, which was a huge advantage for him and he drew the inside gate, too,'' Bensley said.
''He's been drawing off the track for most of his other runs and hasn't had a lot of luck.
''He drove to the line well, and he was the best horse on the day.''