03/30/2009 11:00PM

McLaughlin gains pair from de Kock


Asiatic Boy and Honour Devil, two of the best horses to be trained in Dubai in the last few years, are on their way to New York to be trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.

"Mike de Kock called me on Sunday and asked me if I would like to have Asiatic Boy and Honour Devil, and I said 'I'd love to,' " McLaughlin said Tuesday. "Asiatic Boy is such a nice horse. I don't know exactly when they'll be arriving, but they'll soon be here with me at Belmont Park."

Both horses were bred in Argentina and are owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al-Maktoum, the cousin of Hamdan al-Maktoum, one of McLaughlin's main owners.

Although he only finished 12th in the Dubai World Cup on Saturday, Asiatic Boy compiled an excellent record on dirt at Nad Al Sheba, winning 6 of 10 starts, among them the UAE Derby and Round 3 of the Maktoum Challenge, both Group 2 races, as well as the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint.

Honour Devil was 3 for 6 at Nad Al Sheba, winning both the UAE 2000 Guineas and the UAE Derby last year. Most recently, he was second in the one-mile Group 3 Burj Nahaar on March 5.

McLaughlin had bad news concerning Albertus Maximus, who came out of his sixth-place finish in the World Cup with an inflamed right fore tendon.

"Albertus Maximus is in for an extended holiday," the trainer said. "You have to be very careful with these tendon injuries. I just don't know when he'll be back."

The Albert the Great 5-year-old is on his way to Lexington, Ky., for a thorough check-up.

While de Kock had an uncharacteristically bad night at Nad Al Sheba on Saturday when none of his nine runners could finish in the first three, the South African trainer had good news concerning his Breeders' Cup Turf runner-up Eagle Mountain. Withdrawn a few days before his date in the Dubai Sheema Classic due to a suspensory ligament injury, Eagle Mountain will soon be flying from Dubai to Newmarket where de Kock expects him to resume training upon arrival.

De Kock also is thinking of sending Archipenko, sixth as the favorite in the Dubai Duty Free, to Hong Kong for the Queen Elizabeth II Cup on April 26, but not if Gladiatorus, the 3 1/4-length Duty Free winner, is sent to that race by Godolphin.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor is in a New York state of mind these days. Two Step Salsa and Gayego, the first two across the line in the Godolphin Mile on Saturday, are both being aimed at Belmont's Metropolitan Handicap on Mayo25. They are scheduled to fly to New York in mid-April with the rest of a Godolphin contingent that is being determined by Suroor, Sheikh Mohammed, and their racing manager, Simon Crisford.

The best riding performance on the World Cup card belonged to Ahmed Ajtebi. His performance on Eastern Anthem in the Dubai Sheema Classic was superb. Pinched back at the start, Eastern Anthem was last of 15 and very wide turning for home, yet his Dubaian rider still got him up in time despite taking a bump from Purple Moon near the line. That win gave Ajtebi victory in both $5 million races on the night, both for the equally unheralded trainer Mubarak bin Shafya.

Ajtebi will soon be riding again in England for Godolphin. Last June, Ajtebi won the listed Hampton Court Stakes aboard Regal Parade at Royal Ascot before having to return to Dubai due to an invalid visa. A nephew of leading international owner Saeed Manana, the 24-year-old Ajtebi began his racing career riding in camel races.

In other post-World Cup Night fallout, Jerry Barton, Sultan Al Kabeer's trainer in Saudi Arabia, is contemplating a tilt at the Breeders' Cup Sprint for his Dubai Golden Shaheen winner Big City Man.