x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Devil is aiming to regain his honour in the USA

After a disappointing year and surgery, colt is out for redemption as he gets his first American start for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa.

Honour Devil has the chance to make up for a disappointing year so far as he gets his first American start for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa in the Mr Right Stakes at Belmont Park tonight. Bought by Sheikh Mohammed from Argentina following a five-length victory in the 2007 Premio Especial Old Star Maiden, Honour Devil was trained by Mike de Kock while in Dubai.

An integral part of de Kock's highly-successful season in 2008, Honour Devil cut a swathe, just failing to emulate Asiatic Boy, now also in the USA, in capturing the UAE Triple Crown. He won the Group Three UAE 2,000 Guineas, beating stable- mate Royal Vintage by half-a-length and came runner-up to the same horse by a neck in the Al Bastakiya Stakes before rallying to prove his supremacy in international company in the Group Two UAE Derby on World Cup night.

After an 11-month break, he was back on the track in February this year and started a strong favourite in the Al Dana Investment Plate. But he looked a different horse, flailing home a distant third under jockey Johnny Murtagh, some 10-and-a-half lengths behind the winner. The lay-off should not have affected him - his successful first UAE run had come after a 10-month break - but his disappointed trainer said the colt suffered training problems.

He improved for his next outing, at the Burj Nahaar in March, finishing two-and-a-half lengths from Dubai World Cup-runner, Snaafy. But any chance of developing into the world's richest horse race were dashed when Honour Devil was found to need throat surgery. Now, under the care of Kiaran McLaughlin, Honour Devil will be be given a chance to redeem himself under Rajiv Maragh in a field of seven running for a prize money of US$65,000 (Dh238,000).

He has also some feel of the track having recorded two bullet workouts (the fastest of the day) last month. stregoning@thenational.ae