Fascinating clash between proven and potential in Al Ain feature

Seven races, all for Purebred Arabians, is the offering at Al Ain’s second fixture of the new season on Thursday, highlighted by a conditions contest over 1800m for which 11 have been declared including a Group One winner in the shape of Goshawke.

Now a 7yo, the entire is trained by Abdallah Al Hammadi for Al Ajban Stables and enjoyed his moment in the spotlight when victorious in the 2200m middle round of the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan on the last day of January 2019.

He has not won since but, prior to that victory, he could boast three victories on the Abu Dhabi turf, including both the 2200m second round and 2400m third round of the Arabian Triple Crown in 2018.

Pat Cosgrave rides with Al Hammadi, who has made a great start to the season, also saddling Octave, the mount of Richard Mullen and Thabet Al Reef under Dane O’Neill, both also for Al Ajban Stables.

Al Hammadi said: “We have made a very good start following on from an excellent last season and the horses are running well and in good form.
“Goshawke is a real favourite in the yard and gave us our biggest winner. His work has been good and this looks a good opportunity to start his season and to try him at a new venue in Al Ain.
“The other two are in good form at home and are proven on the Al Ain track albeit in lesser company. We are looking forward to running them”

For Ahmed Al Mehairbi and Al Rahmani Racing, Kerless Del Roc was peerless here at Al Ain last season, winning all three course appearances earlier this year having been well beaten on his sole previous appearance in an Abu Dhabi maiden last December.

Two of his course victories were over this 1800m, the third and most recent over 2000m, and the 4yo either led from the outset or tracked the speed on each occasion, registering an aggregate victory distance of just over 31 lengths!

Connections should have some idea of how good he potentially is tackling the likes of Goshawke and Fernando Jara, yet to ride in the UAE this season, is back to ride the colt having been aboard for all three of those victories last season.

Al Mehairbi said: “This horse gave us three great days out in Al Ain last season and proved himself a very exciting prospect. Back at his favourite track is obviously in his favour but the standard of opposition is a question mark but one he deserves the chance to answer.
“Goshawke, in particular, is a proven quality performer but we think and hope our horse has that kind of potential. We will learn a lot on Thursday.”

On official ratings the 7yo Majd Du Loup and 9yo Shadda’Ad should be the main dangers but neither are prolific winners and it would be no surprise were this to develop into a match between Goshawke, who needs prove himself at Al Ain, and Kerless Del Roc, clashing with the strongest opposition he has faced.