Alejandro Cañizares aims to be the first to defend the Hassan Trophy

George Coetzee will be latest European Tour winner to tee-off at the palatial grounds

Alejandro Cañizares will return to Morocco this Thursday looking to become the first player to defend the Trophée Hassan II title since it became a part of the European Tour schedule.

The Spaniard collected his second ever European Tour victory 12 months ago at the unique setting of the palatial grounds of the home of the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, which opens exclusively for this tournament each year.

Leading the Irish contingent in this week's pursuit of one of the most unusual tour trophies is five time European Tour winner Michael Hoey. He's also joined by Peter Lawrie, Damien McGrane, Gareth Maybin and Kevin Phelan.

Hoey, who won the tournament in 2012, is one of the five former winners back competing this week.

Hoey finished with a 17 under par total three years ago, beating off stiff competition from his fellow country man McGrane to collect the jewelled gold decorative dagger trophy.

Along with Cañizares, Germany's Marcel Siem, Welshman Rhys Davies and England's David Horsey are the other three past winners who make up this year's entry list in Agadir.

Horsey has a particular affinity to the course having won the tournament in 2011 and finishing tied second in 2013. He has amassing a combined score of 54 under par for 20 rounds since 2010, when the title first became part of the European Tour.

George Coetzee will be the latest European Tour winner to tee-off at the 7,041-yard par 72 layout in Morocco, following his victory at the Tshwane Open less than a fortnight ago. He adds his name to the ring after the Madeira Islands Open in Portugal was cancelled last week.

Former Ryder Cup player Ross Fisher comes in as the highest ranked player in The Race to Dubai in the field, he's currently in third place in the season-long list.