Big plans mapped out for Algiers following Woodbine run

The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile could be next on the agenda for Algiers following his narrow defeat at Woodbine on Saturday.

Simon and Ed Crisford’s charge was hugely impressive when winning two rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan earlier in the year and was last seen finishing second in the Dubai World Cup.

The six-year-old headed to Canada for his first competitive start in just over six months and while he again had to make do with minor honours in the Grade Three Durham Cup – going down by half a length to Artie’s Storm in the hands of Rab Havlin – Simon Crisford was pleased with the performance.

“The pace of the race was way too slow and I think we were concerned about getting into a speed duel at the beginning of the race, which is why Rab took him back a bit,” he said on Racing TV’s Luck on Sunday programme.

“They put the brakes on and it was a very slowly-run race – it was 30 lengths slower than what we were anticipating and a good six seconds slower than what it should have been.

“I think that is basically what caused the defeat as what this horse really likes is a true, honest pace to run at and he travels supremely well when he gets conditions in his favour.

“He was also running on a Tapeta track and he goes well on it, but he’s a completely different horse on dirt, so there are lots of positives to take from it and he’s come out of the race well.”

While Algiers has the option of stepping back up in distance for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on November 4, Crisford feels he is more comfortable over the mile.

He added: “He’s going to be very busy in the winter. We’ve got potential Breeders’ Cup plans, we’ve got Dubai and we’ve got Saudi.

“We gave him a really good break in the summer and he’s come back well. We didn’t see him at his best on Saturday night, but I’m sure that he’ll get his race face on for his next performance.

“We’ve talked about this (his Breeders’ Cup target) at length and we haven’t got a final decision, but in Dubai he was demonstrating so much speed over the mile that we felt a two-turn mile at Santa Anita would suit him well.

“He jumps well from the gates and they go very fast. He’ll travel into the race supremely well and we’re confident that we can see him at his best over that trip.”

Another Crisford inmate to perform with credit on foreign soil on Saturday was West Wind Blows, who filled the runner-up spot in the Group One Turnbull Stakes at Flemington.

While a Melbourne Cup bid is not on the agenda, West Wind Blows is set to remain in Australia for a tilt at the Caulfield Cup.

Crisford added: “He put up a really top performance, it was a fantastic effort in a Group One.

“There wasn’t really a proper programme for him here, so we thought rather than go for the Canadian International we’d go to Australia and we’ve got three bites of the bullet there.

“He ran second in the Turnbull over a mile and a quarter and that’s lined up really nicely for a Caulfield Cup effort.”

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