02/19/2009 1:00AM

Honour Devil fails as Dijeerr wires


Honour Devil was unable to overcome the effects of a near-11-month layoff at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday night as he slogged home a dull third in the Al Dana Investment Plate, a $110,000 mile allowance race that was taken by the back-in-form Dijeerr.

Trained by Mike de Kock to win last year's UAE Derby, Honour Devil was in trouble rounding the turn for home, with rider Johnny Murtagh already hard at work. Dijeerr went on to a front-running 2 1/4-length victory over Tiz Now Tiz Then, the ex-Eoin Harty trainee who had finished third in the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga last year. It was another 8 1/4 lengths back to a fading Honour Devil, whose Dubai World Cup hopes took a heavy hit this night.

The Mubarak bin Shafya-trained Dijeerr had shown some sparkle when we was second last winter in the listed Zabeel Mile, after which he had won a conditions race at Newmarket. His first two starts at Nad Al Sheba this season, however, were woeful efforts, and his chances against Honour Devil looked slim. But apprentice rider Antioco Murgia put him on the lead from the start and they never looked back, covering the mile in 1:37.34.

Shafya also engineered the wire-to-wire victory of Gladiatorus in the Group 2, $250,000 Al Fahidi Fort for fillies and mares. Gladiatorus a son of Silic formerly trained in Italy, prevailed by 5 3/4 lengths over Hunting Tower, getting the 1 1/8 miles on good ground in 1:36.37.