Six-year-old Algiers is a strong contender for the flagship race on March 25
Algiers was imposing winner of the opening two legs of the Al Maktoum Challenge this year. — KT file
Quite often, instead of realising their dreams people never get started but it’s not so in the case of Ed Crisford, who is on the threshold of achieving something that he had always had his heart on.
Next Saturday, Ed, who together with his dad Simon, jointly trains exciting Dubai World Cup contender Algiers, will find out if his childhood wish will come true.
An imposing winner of the opening two legs of the Al Maktoum series this year, Algiers heads into the Meydan’s flagship race as one of the leading chances.
“Growing up, I watched almost every Dubai World Cup and now to be a part of it and have a legitimate contender is something you always dream about,” said Ed. “But now, we’ve got to get the job done and let the horse do the talking.”
Simon was a key member of Dubai’s Godolphin stable, one of the major powers in world racing, for over two decades before he became an independent trainer. And, in 2020, took Ed on board to become Britain’s first officially licensed training partnership.
Sharing job responsibilities, knowledge, and passion, the Crisfords are currently bracing for their finest hour.
“Obviously growing up around horses and having your dad work with one of the biggest racing operations in the world, I was always going to get hooked on it at a young age,” said Ed. And when you do, you always hope that you get horses that are good enough to run in races like the Dubai World Cup and the Classic in England.
“It’s an amazing feeling but you never think it will quite happen until suddenly a horse comes around that changes everything and then you think, ‘hang on, we can actually win this.’
“The thing about Algiers is he’s a proper local horse who is going for the biggest race in Dubai, and one of the most prestigious in the world,” he adds.
“He’s the big local hope, the people’s horse of Dubai. I’m sure everyone’s going to be rooting for him.”
However, Ed, 30, was doing a good job keeping his feet on the ground and not allowing himself to be carried away by the dominant fashion in which Algiers won his two prep races over a cumulative 12 ½ lengths.
“He’s been training very well, he loves the track and loves the surface,” he said. “But the Dubai World Cup is a huge step up in class and a big ask. He’s in with the big boys and this looks like a stellar renewal of the race.
“There are some serious Japanese horses in there and last year’s winner Country Grammer, ran a superb race in Saudi Arabia last month where it looked like he wanted every yard of the 1,800-metre trip.
“It’s a huge step up in class but I wouldn’t swap our boy for him at all,” Ed added. “I like the way he can travel and then quicken off at a fast pace. And he’s got that terrific turn of foot that you need for big races like the Dubai World Cup.”
Algiers began his career in France where he was trained by the legendary Andre Fabre for Godolphin before he changed owners several times before being acquired by Hamdan Sultan Al Sabousi.
He was handed over to the Crisfords at the end of 2021 and has since done nothing but thrive, winning four of his eight starts and storming up the ratings.
“After he debuted for us at Jebel Ali, where he won the Mile on his second start, we brought him back to England and had him gelded,” said Ed. “I think that was the turning point in his career as he became a lot lighter and his breathing was cleaner.
“He won at York over 2,000 metres but it was his final race in the UK, on the all-weather at Lingfield, that really impressed us. It was a career-defining performance and it proved to us that he was ready for bigger races. The rest is history.”
On Saturday, Ed and his father Simon will be hoping to make some history of their own as the first joint license holders to win the Dubai World Cup.
ALL ABOUT ALGIERS
> Algiers is a six-year-old gelding and has raced from 2020.
> He was sired by Shamardal out of the Platini mare Antara.
> He is trained by Simon and Ed Crisford and has raced for Hamdan Sultan Ali Alsabousi
> He has an Official Rating of 120 on dirt
> He has had 20 runs with seven wins, five second-place finishes and two third-place finises
> He has raced at Compiegne (France), Deauville (France), Jebel Ali (UAE), Lingfield Park (UK), ParisLongchamp (France), Meydan (UAE), Newmarket (UK), Saint-Cloud (France), Vichy (France), York (UK)
> He has wins at Compiegne (France), Jebel Ali (UAE), Meydan (UAE), Saint-Cloud (France), York (UK)
> His stakes wins include the 2023 Al Maktoum Challenge Rd. 2 (G2), 2023 Al Maktoum Challenge Rd. 1 (G2), 2022 Handicap, 2022 Jebel Ali Mile (G3), 2021 Grand Prix de Compiegne (LS), and the 2020 Prix Turenne (LS)