Thursday 3 June 2021

Simon Crisford: Making headlines

Formerly Newmarket correspondent at the Racing Post, Simon Crisford became a familiar, and respected, figure in British racing thanks to his 12-year tenure as racing manager to Godolphin. However, in early 2014, in the wake of a doping scandal – which saw former Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni ‘warned off’ for eight years after admitting administering anabolic steroids to horses in his charge – Crisford resigned his long-standing role. He immediately moved to a new position, doing consultancy work for Sheikh Mohammed but, having completed the relevant British Horseracing Authority training modules, set up as a trainer in his own right later that year.

Initially renting boxes from Clive Brittain at Carlburg Stables, on the Bury Road in Newmarket, Crisford made an extraordinarily successful start to his training career. In 2015, he saddled 22 winners from 85 runners, at a very healthy strike of 26%; the highlight of his debut season was winning his first Pattern race, the Group Three Solario Stakes at Sandown, with First Selection.

In 2016, Crisford increased his seasonal tally to 32 winners and, in 2017, following his relocation to Kremlin House Stables, on the nearby Fordham Road, increased it again to 43 winners. In 2018, he won a handful of Listed and Pattern races, notably the Group Two Prix Daniel Wilderstein at Longchamp with Ostilio, and recorded his first Royal Ascot success, courtesy of the same horse in the Britannia Stakes. All told, Crisford saddled 70 winners from 337 runners, at a strike rate of 21%, and amassed £1.02 million in prize money, making 2018 by far his most successful season, numerically and financially, so far.

In 2019, his continued success warranted another move, across Newmarket, to the state-of the-art Gainsborough Stables on the Hamilton Road. At the time of writing, Crisford has maintained a similar strike rate from his new base, sending out 48 winners from 242 runners so far. His most successful horse of the year, so far, has been the two-year-old colt A’Ali, who has won three of his five starts, all at Group Two level, and is on course for a crack at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita.

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