Mike De Kock celebrated his birthday with a brilliant one-two in the Gulf News UAE 2000 Guineas at Nad Al Sheba, as Honour Devil bravely saw off his stablemate Royal Vintage to land the colt’s Classic.
Click here to watch the UAE 2000 Guineas.
The South African trainer - who along with Saeed bin Suroor, has swept all before him this Dubai International Racing Carnival - looks to have not one, but two horses who can dominate the three-year-old division in the UAE.
Honour Devil was following in the footsteps of Asiatic Boy - who runs in the same colours of HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and was the first horse to win the UAE Triple Crown last year.
A similar path awaits Honour Devil and the runner-up, as both will be aimed at the second leg, the Al Bastakiya on Super Thursday before the UAE Derby on Dubai World Cup day.
The owner also has a share in the second, and Mike De Kock said: “It’s a fantastic result for Sheikh Mohammed and we’re all indebted to him for his support of the stable.
“Honour Devil just doesn’t know when to lay down. But take nothing away from the runner-up who hadn’t run for 257 days and did not have the best draw (13).”
The South African maestro was also on the mark in the opening Wheels Handicap with Drift Ice, but otherwise the night belonged to Bin Suroor and Frankie Dettori, who combined for a hat-trick.
The highlight was With Reason who came to the front very easily in the US$175,000 Sport Extra Handicap, but then initially found little when joined by Gower Song.
However, Frankie Dettori galvanised his mount for a second run, to get him up on the line and beat the British raider by a head.