FORGOTTEN jock Paul Devlin hasn’t ridden a winner for Mike de Kock in over three years, but his old master chucked him a bone and Devlin brought Yalaad (NZ) home in a sprint handicap over 1200m at Jebel Ali in Dubai on Friday, 16 February.
When last they teamed up, Devlin booted home Philippa Johnson over Badger’s Gift in the Grade 2 Odessa Fillies Championship at Kenilworth and he told mikedekockracing.com: “When I was down on my luck, Mike put me on Philippa Johnson and after that things came right for me in Cape Town. Hopefully I can ride a few more winners here now.’’
He is proud to have beaten British Champion jockey Ryan Moore, Dubai Champion jock Ted Durcan, and the likes of Richard Hills and Martin Dwyer in the Jebel Ali race and said: “Sometimes all one needs is a chance or two to get back among the winners.’’
Devlin, who rides mostly in Qatar and Abu Dhabi these days and is a work rider to the Sateesh Seemar yard, won a Group 1 race for Arabians in Qatar last year. Several years ago he also won a Grade 1 race and several others on the Bridget Oppenheimer-owned Kimberley Mine.
Yalaad (NZ), by Volksraad, is owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Makthoum, who imported the colt from Australia. Devlin squashed rumours that he would be replacing Weichong Marwing as stable jockey to De Kock and chuckled: “Weichong and Charl Pretorius are said to have gone on their knees to get me this ride and in a weak moment the boss most hesitantly yielded to pressure. I am very chuffed to have won a race for Sheikh Mohammed, but I don’t think Weichong will give up his position at this point.’’
Devlin and his South African compatriots partied the night away to the sounds of Watershed and Johnny Clegg at “South African Day’’ held at Nad Al Sheba after the Jebel Ali meeting. We wish the likeable jockey well.
Yalaad (Paul Devlin, blue cap) hits the front in a sprint at Jebel Ali, captured by the lens of the ever-present Andrew Watkins.