Algiers Stakes Big Race Claim

Gr2 Maktoum Challenge R1

It’s been 14 years since Gr2 Maktoum Challenge R1, the official feature on the opening night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival on Friday evening at Meydan, produced a horse who won the Dubai World Cup in the same season.

There’s a hint of a suggestion that Algiers could do the same, after Simon and Ed Crisford’s charge dominated the 1600metre race, winning by six and a half lengths from Discovery Island.

It was a superb performance by the six-year-old, who was eighth in the Godolphin Mile last season.

Algiers streaks to an easy victory

His vanquished opponents included defending champion Golden Goal, who faded into twelfth after leading, as well as 2021 Godolphin Mile winner Secret Ambition, fourth.

“All credit to Algiers, he was really tough out there,” said co-winning trainer Simon Crisford. “We wondered beforehand if he’d had enough match practice on this surface against these horses, but he’s handled it really well.”

Crisford wouldn’t be drawn on the $12million World Cup question, outlining the range of options for Algiers in the Gulf.

“He’s won over 10 1/2f (2100metres) at York and in France so he should get it,” he said of the Dubai World Cup distance. “He will be in the World Cup, he’s also in the big race in Saudi, and we’ll look at the next leg of the Maktoum Challenge too.”

Doyle, riding his 99th UAE winner, added; “the draw (11) was always a worry and I had to go four or five wide around the turn, giving away ground, but he’s shown again he’s a good horse.”

Alistair Cohen called the race – watch the replay:

It was soon 100 up for Doyle, who partnered Al Suhail to success in the night’s other Group 2, the Al Fahidi Fort (presented by Zabeel Feed), over 1400metres on turf. The six-year-old hadn’t managed better than third in three previous Carnival appearances but was much too good here, storming clear from off the pace and beating Group 1 winner Alfareeq by four lengths, breaking the track record in the process.

“His homework’s been good, but as we’ve seen before he’s got his own ideas about things,” said trainer Charlie Appleby, for whom it was a record seventh win in this race. “It was always the plan for James to ride him cold from that draw. I see no reason why he won’t go to the Zabeel Mile next, as he wasn’t stopping at the end there.”

Doyle sealed a memorable night when Lazuli gave him a treble, and Appleby a double, in the closing Listed Ertijaal Dubai Dash.

Stablemate Man Of Promise was the favourite for the 1000metre turf event, but Lazuli loves the minimum trip and was able to track his main rival throughout the race, beating him by a length and a quarter, with Czech raider Ponntos third.

“It’s nice to be on a few fast ones,” said Doyle afterwards. “With the stalls on the far side, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was able to get onto the back of Will [Buick, on Man Of Promise] and he took me as far as I needed to go.

“He [Lazuli] is a strong-travelling horse and he gets five furlongs well. He maybe doesn’t hit the line quite so well over six.

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