Swing Vote sparks big-race dreams for the Crisfords after impressive Jebel Ali Mile victory

Watson's Colour Up bolts up in Listed Jebel Al Sprint as Shadwell supremo Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan attends Jebel Ali Racecourse's biggest meeting

By Leslie Wilson Jr.

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Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan, William Buick and Ed Crisford after the presentation ceremony for the G3 Jebel Ali Mile. - Photo ERA
Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan, William Buick and Ed Crisford after the presentation ceremony for the G3 Jebel Ali Mile. - Photo ERA

Published: Sun 11 Feb 2024, 1:47 AM

Almost a year after coming close to Dubai World Cup glory, Simon and Ed Crisford, find themselves in a position to finally realize their big-race ambitions following Swing Vote’s impressive victory in the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile Sponsored by Shadwell on Saturday.

The father and son thoroughbred training team from Newmarket England had saddled Algiers to a battling second behind mighty Japanese raider Ushba Tesoro in the $12m contest and must now believe that they can make up for that setback with a horse who has done nothing but improve this season.

A four-year-old son of Darley stallion Shamardal, Swing Vote has won all three starts at Jebel Ali Racecourse, which is a proven track to prepare horses for the challenge that awaits at Meydan.

A former two-time winner when raced by French legend Andre Fabre for Godolphin Swing Vote displayed his superiority under two-time British champion jockey William Buick to beat lesserf-fancied Down On Da Bayou by three and a half lengths in the 1,600m contest.

“He’s certainly improving,” said Ed Crisford. “Today he had to prove it again and he really did. William felt he was all class.

Swing Vote winning the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile under William Buick. - Photo ERA
Swing Vote winning the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile under William Buick. - Photo ERA

“Wee have to sit down and talk about what route we are going to go. You’ve got Super Saturday where there are two races he could run in - the Maktoum Challenge (1900) or the Ras al Khor (1,600m) or he could skip that and go straight to the Godolphin Mile (G1) on World Cup night.

“We’ll see how he is. He’s had three tough runs in the space of six weeks but its fantastic and he’s an exciting horse,” added Crisford.

Buick, who was making a rare appearance at Jebel Ali Course, where he once was based as a stable jockey following winning the apprentice title in the UK, was impressed with Swing Vote’s performance and said: “He’s got the track experience over here and he looked very good when he won the trial last month.

“It was great to get on him. It was a straightforward race he’s a closer and the race set up for him nicely today. He showed he’s far better than the opposition.”

Discussing what lay in store for the son of Shamardal, who has now answered all the questions that were asked of him, Buick said: “I think a strongly run mile is his sweet spot. It’s a stiff mile over here so you would probably imagine on a flat track he will probably get nine maybe ten furlongs. He has won over ten in France, so we know he does stay. But I would say this season a mile is his optimum distance.”

Sheikha Hissa Bint Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, owner of Shadwell and Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, Director General of the Emirates Racing Authority, were present at Jebel Ali.

Colour Up beats Al Shibli in the Jebel Ali Sprint. - Photo ERA
Colour Up beats Al Shibli in the Jebel Ali Sprint. - Photo ERA

Sheikha Hissa presented the trophies to the winning connection of Swing Vote.

“It was an honour to have Sheikha Hissa grace the races which really was a huge day of our season,” said Mohamed Al Ahmed, General Manager of Jebel Ali Racecourse.

"We're thrilled to have had a record-breaking day at the Jebel Ali races, welcoming 15,000 enthusiastic attendees.The Fashion Day theme was a hit, with people dressing up in style and enjoying the excitement of the races.”

Meanwhile the Doug Watson-trained Colour Up won the A.R.M Holding-sponsored Listed Jebel Ali Sprint, the third and final leg of the Emirates Sprint Series.

“Fantastic for the owners, Sayed (Hashish),” said Watson.“He’s a tough little horse who has been running in top class races. He ran his first race here when he was trained by Erwan Charpy. We got him last season and we ran him up here to get him to become eligible for the Carnival. He won nicely so we knew he liked it here

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“He hasn’t been a hundred percent for the last six weeks but he’s just a tough horse,” added Watson.

“We’ll have to see how he comes out of the race and take it from there.”

Action began with the Wathba Stallions Cup, sponsored by the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Racing Festival which was won by Ibrahim Al Hadhrami's Ramz Muscat, under Sam Hitchcott.


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