Royal VintageRoyal Vintage (Andrew Watkins)Super Thursday was a mixed night for the Mike De Kock Dubai based-team with Royal Vintage heading an Al Bastakiya 1-2 with UAE 2000 Guineas winner Honour Devil chasing him home. Kevin Shea was in the saddle on the winner, a three-year-old son of Rich Man’s Gold, who was sent to the front about two furlongs out, at which point Honour Devil hung in behind briefly.

Johnny Murtagh was able to straighten his mount out though and gave valiant chase to Kevin Shea’s mount but the winning line came in time for Shea who said: “I was confident before the race and he has battled bravely. They are two nice horses.”

Mike De Kock added: “We hoped they would be first and second and they have not let us down. I could not really split them and was not surprised they finished so close together.”

The rest of the night was a bit more disappointing with World Cup aspirant Asiatic Boy only third in the Group 3 Burj Nahaar over a mile. Never far off the pace under Johnny Murtagh, he was not able to quicken in the final furlong against rivals to whom he was conceding weight and Murtagh said: “Obviously it was disappointing but the big night is three weeks away and I would rather get this defeat out of the way now than then.” Brave Tin Soldier was sixth and Drift Ice 13th in the same race.

Oracle West was a creditable third in the Group 3 Dubai City of Gold, the 12-furlong turf feature he won in 2006 and was second in last year, while Lucky Find weakened close home in the 10-furlong Maktoum Challenge III. He was third, having led a furlong out over a trip clearly taxing his cinema.

Drayton and Frosty Secret were sixth and ninth respectively in the Group 3 six-furlong Mahab Al Shimaal, while neither Admiralofthefleet nor African Appeal were able to overcome their bad draws in the concluding Group 2 Jebel Hatta.

Extract by Peter Ward from Mike de Kock

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