Author: Duane Fonseca
Becoming one of the world’s most sought after riders has done nothing to erase memories of how Jebel Ali Racecourse’s surface plays from the memory of James Doyle. Doyle was on target for Simon Crisford up the hill Saturday afternoon scoring in the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile with Algiers, who of course played a pivotal role in the triumph, with the ever modesrt rider attributing full credit to his partner.
But Doyle’s experience of riding for Jebel Ali Racecourse patron Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s resident trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam during his early years in the profession appear to have helped his cause during one of the most prized contests up the hill. Algiers’ triumph by a length and a half was Doyle’s second Jebel Ali Mile victory after Selvaratnam’s Forjatt earned him one of his early big race wins in the UAE in 2014.
“I know the track well and have run around it plenty of times while working for Sheikh Ahmed so I know my way home,” Doyle explained. “I won this race first with Forjatt which was some time ago during my first trip to Dubai. My career started here and I lived in the jockey villa around the corner, so it was nice to come back… it’s always been a fantastic track with a good atmosphere.”
Although Doyle knew the track, he learned more about Algiers, a 5yo Shamardal entire, when the pair partnered for the first time to finish second in a 1950m rated conditions stakes at the same venue a fortnight earlier. That prep run sought to ready Algiers for this, an assignment he passed with flying colours as he chased the leaders before starting to coast in the straight and win rather comfortably despite pressure coming from Bhupat Seemar’s Remorse, who had Tadhg O’Shea up.
It was a fourth success for Algiers who has been well campaigned in France in Group company and has a Listed win to show among his 14 career starts. Previously trained by Andre Fabre, he transferred to Crisford’s yard for his Middle Eastern sojourn. Doyle said: “He came from France and showed a very solid level of ability and with a very high rating.
We did not know much about him, but we thought we’d try him here and see with this race at the back of our minds. “Obviously being by Shamardal, he has that little bit of speed he showed when we started him with the 1950m and then we dropped him to the mile. “We were very pleased with the way he ran that day.
He ran super and was quite tired later on, but we didn’t think the drop to a mile would inconvenience him. He didn’t have that early tactical speed to get forward so I was caught quite wide on the turn, which was a bit of a concern. “But between the three and the two he just jumped into the bridle and as we know here it’s all about momentum.
I had to trust him and he had run a bit further on his last start so the stamina was there.” As far as his next targets are concerned, Doyle hinted at a possible tilt at either the Listed Jebel Ali Stakes over 1950m (26 February) or the Group 2 Godolphin Mile on the Dubai World Cup card. “It would probably make sense with a couple of weeks to the Stakes,”
Doyle opined. “It was quite a tough race there, but he took it quite well and I’m sure they will take a look at the Stakes, or maybe he’ll have a target on World Cup night like and the Godolphin Mile has been mentioned.”