Issue 750

59 ISSUE 750 - THURSDAY 20 JANUARY 2022 BY DUANE FONSECA Only Smoke edged to a narrow victory in a 1600m conditions event at Meydan on 2 December and has a previous 1600m maiden win at Al Ain to show on his resume, while Pharitz Oubai won over track and trip twice before, his last start included. However, the one that could really cause the rest real problems is Al Hammadi’s Ozone Layer, a 5yo son of Valiant Boy who has dominant back to back wins over the longer 2000m trip to show among his five career starts. Last seen finishing a close fourth on turf at Abu Dhabi on 10 January, Ozone Layer will be looking to do his mentor proud at what seems his favourite venue. The only Thoroughbred contest on the card has drawn a tough divisional field too. A 2600m handicap for 3yo and older horses, the field has Bhupat Seemar’s Knockacullion as the top weight. The 6yo full son of Bernardini is yet to win after six starts in the UAE, but seems to have improved over his first two outings of this season both over the stiffer Jebel Ali surface. He made his seasonal bow with a tenth in an 1800m handicap there and then chased home Attribution in third last week in a 1950m run. Alalawi dispatches the inconsistent Falcon Claws, who finished further afield in that race and has dropped in the ratings, a slide that has continued since his victory in a 1700m handicap at Sharjah last April. Falcon Claws will be joined by stable companion Arabian Moon, a 5yo Al Kazeem gelding with a course and distance victory in a corresponding run last February to back his credentials. Obeyaan for Doug Watson might be the only other to draw attention to himself having warmed up for this with a sixth behind Sea Skimmer in a 2000m handicap here on 8 January. Race 1: Mutefjr W’rsan Race 2: Itchy De Nacre Race 3 Majad Baynounah Race 4 SS Izz Dubai (Nap) Race 5 Mukhalad Race 6 Wma Afar Race 7 Arabian Moon Selections Rahaal Al Wathba Only Smoke