01/24/2008 1:00AM

Asiatic Boy overcomes trouble


Asiatic Boy returned to his winning ways at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday night, overcoming repeated trouble to win the Group 3, $200,000 Al Shindagha Sprint while serving notice that he will be a force to be reckoned with in the Dubai World Cup.

Off a step slowly, the Argentine-bred 5-year-old found himself behind a wall of horses along the stands' side rail at the halfway point of the straight six-furlong dash. Last save one in the 10-runner field but never very far behind the leaders, he was angled out by Johnny Murtagh, who finally found a gap and made for it.

Asiatic Boy led at the sixteenth pole and ran out a 1 1/4-length winner over Salaam Dubai, who had been third behind Kelly's Landing and Friendly Island in last year's Dubai Golden Shaheen. It was 3 1/2 lengths back to third-place Malayeen, who just nosed last July's Alfred G. Vanderbilt winner, Diabolical, who was having his first start for Godolphin. The time was 1:11.27.

* Earlier, Linngari turned in a superb weight-giving performance in a $175,000 turf handicap, handing South African Group 1 winner Divine Jury a 1 1/4-length beating while spotting him six pounds. The winning time for the 7 1/2 furlongs on good ground was 1:31.85. Trainer Herman Brown has Linngari firmly on course for the Dubai Duty Free, in which he finished second last year.

* Honour Devil established himself as the favorite for the UAE 2000 Guineas on Feb. 14, with an overwhelming victory in a seven-furlong allowance. A five-length maiden winner in his lone start in Argentina last March, Honour Devil is trained by de Kock.