Algiers (Ire) (Shamardal), the winner of the first two rounds of the G2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1/R2 this season, will be aimed at the $12-million G1 Dubai World Cup at the end of March and bypass a shot at the $20-million G1 Saudi Cup on Feb. 25.
“He won Round 2 very well and the step up in trip on the dirt was no problem, so it’s all systems go for the World Cup,” said trainer Ed Crisford, who trains with his father, Simon.
“We took him out of the Saudi Cup as we just felt we’d be better off staying in Dubai and aiming at the big one on World Cup night.
“Round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge is on Super Saturday [on Mar. 4], but I’d say we’ll swerve that and go straight to the World Cup. He’s had two quite good runs in quick succession, so we can freshen him up and ready him for the big night.”
The gelding ran out a 6 1/2-length winner of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 on Jan. 6, the first day of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, and he was six lengths clear of Bendoog (Gun Runner) in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 on Feb. 3.
He added of the 6-year-old, who will be ridden by James Doyle, “I think we’ll find a lot out next weekend in Saudi in terms of what horses are coming. The Japanese and the Americans have some seriously good dirt horses and I think it’ll all come to light after Saudi.
“The World Cup will be a big step up for our horse, but he’s the best horse in the UAE at the moment on the dirt and it’s hugely exciting.”