Harry Bentley: "I could not have dreamed of such a good start"PICTURE: Getty Images
Bentley stars on Meydan's opening fixture
Report: UAE, Thursday
Meydan (Dubai): All-weather (Tapeta)
HARRY BENTLEY made a great return to action in the UAE on Thursday, riding a treble at Meydan's first meeting of the season.
Bentley landed the last three races, including the feature 1m conditions race on Barbecue Eddie, and was obviously delighted with his evening's work.
He said: "I could not have dreamed of such a good start to the new season and I am really looking forward to the campaign.
"I am working mainly for Ali Rashid Al Raihe this season and we have some really nice horses in the yard and I am very grateful to him for such a big chance."
Barbecue Eddie, winning for the first time at 1m but recording his fifth course success, is trained by Doug Watson and won well, despite being hampered in the early stages.
Watson said: "The trip first time out was a slight concern but he loves this Tapeta surface and Harry did everything right - not panicking after that bump early on and tracking the pace perfectly. Once he found a gap I thought we had it and he ran on very strongly.
"I may drop him back to seven next time as there is a race for him next month and then the carnival - perhaps even the Maktoum Challenge I."
Bentley's first winner came aboard Rochdale, who was winning the 1m2f handicap for the third year running for champion trainer Al Raihe, whose stable jockey, Royston Ffrench, partnered disappointing favourite and stable companion Zain Shamardal.
Bentley added: "This was a great ride to be given and we know conditions suit him. Everything went perfectly in the race and I was always confident. It is great to get a winner for the new boss."
He then doubled his tally for Al Raihe with the smooth success of Garbah in the concluding 6f handicap.
Like Al Raihe, Satish Seemar saddled a double at Jebel Ali last week and repeated the trick with Dubai Iconic (Richard Mullen) landing the opening 7f maiden before Irish apprentice Marc Monaghan made the perfect start to riding in Dubai, winning on his first mount Skycruiser in the 7f handicap - a race the horse also won last year.
Monaghan said: "This is a great opportunity to ride in Dubai and this is the best possible start. I had a good year in Ireland and am really looking forward to this UAE season and can hopefully learn a lot."