Goshawke looks class act in Al Ain feature

Saturday is the first Al Ain fixture of 2022 and highlighted by a quality 2000m conditions stakes with Goshawke seemingly standing out among the ten runners for Al Ajban Stables and trainer Abdallah Al Hammadi.

The now 8yo entire was one of the trainer’s early stars and provided his handler with his biggest win to date when landing the 2200m Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 on the dirt at Meydan on the last day of January 2019.

Al Hammadi’s stable star had not won since until landing a conditions contest over 1800m, here at Al Ain under Pat Cosgrave, in November but he has twice been well beaten since.

Cosgrave is again in the saddle and the trainer only has the one runner in the race which is not always his modus operandi so that may suggest confidence in his horse’s chances.

Cosgrave said: “Obviously he is the class horse in the race and we know Al Ain suits him. He is not getting any younger but he retains plenty of ability. Hopefully he is the one to beat.”

Off bottom weight, Musheer Al Wathba looks a big danger with Adrie de Vries riding for Jean de Roualle and Al Wathba Racing.

Homebred, the 6yo entire has won half of his four Al Ain appearances most recently, and significantly, the March 2020 Al Ain Derby over 1800m.

That Prestige contest was restricted to his own age group and he has seemingly struggled in his clashes with his elders but this could prove the ideal opportunity to bounce back to form.

De Roualle said: “He is still a young horse who is learning and developing. We know he has ability and a touch of class so we are hoping for a big run and we have put the blinkers on which, we hope, will help him.”

Richard Mullen has picked up the ride on Akmal for Ibrahim Al Hadhrami who also saddles Asif, the mount of Abdul Aziz Al Balushi.

However, the fact that Antonio Fresu partners the trainer’s third runner, Salb, would suggest he is considered his handler’s best chance.

The only Thoroughbred race on the card, a 2000m handicap, has attracted a field of 13 and as such races in the Garden City always do, appears ultra competitive.

Obeyaan represents the Doug Watson and Pat Dobbs combination and, perhaps significantly, is the jockey’s only mount on the card.

A 6yo gelded son of Tiznow, Watson’s charge was originally in the care of Fawzi Nass but remained a maiden when he joined Mujeeb Rahman.

The latter did saddle him to win at Jebel Ali, over 1950m, just under a year ago and Obeyaan was fifth, over 2600m, on his only Al Ain appearance when he certainly appeared to handle the surface.

Also previously with Nass, Iftitah certainly handles conditions having won a 1400m Al Ain handicap in January 2019. By then trained by Satish Seemar, he is now in the care of Helal Alalawi as is Arabian Moon, a winner here for the trainer over 2600m in February 2021.

Alalawi also saddles Autumn Pride, a 2200m maiden winner on the Abu Dhabi turf in March 2020 but well behind Arabian Moon in the aforementioned 2600m handicap last February.

Salem bin Ghadayer also saddles three with Royston Ffrench seemingly preferring the chances of Honorable Justice over those of Fraserburgh and Kuchisabishii, the mounts of Jose Santiago and Xavier Ziani respectively.

For Bhupat Seemar and Tadhg O’Shea, Takhteet, as well as Montakhab, the mount of Antonio Fresu for Musabbeh Al Mheiri, are others to consider in a wide open finale on a seven race card.