SIMON Crisford last night resigned his long-standing role as racing manager of Godolphin, less than a fornight after the publication of a report by Lord Stevens into a doping scandal which embarrassed the operation last year.
Lord Stevens’ report, which followed a thorough inquiry, concluded that disgraced Classic-winning trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni had acted alone in systematically doping horses in his stable, but was critical of other aspects of Sheikh Mohammed’s racing empire.
Annnouncing his resignation from the role of racing manager, Crisford - a widely respected figure in British racing - told the Racing Post: “Having dealt with the events of last year and seen the Lord Stevens inquiry through to its conclusion, I thought that this was a good moment to bring my time at Godolphin to a close.”
Former Racing Post journalist Crisford, 51, will now move into a new position as a global racing advisor to Sheikh Mohammed with immediate effect, and he added: “I had felt for a while that I would like a fresh challenge. I think the time is right for a new start for the stable and for me. Sheikh Mohammed has asked me to take on a new role as his global racing adviser. I am delighted to have accepted that position and I am very much looking forward to what will be an exciting new chapter for me.”
Crisford, who first teamed up with Sheik Mohammed in 1989, had been racing manager since Godolphin was founded in 1992 and was instrumental in expanding the organisation into the most powerful in the equine world. He is the third high-profile departure from Godolphin in 16 months after former retained jockey Frankie Dettori and Al Zarooni.
• Barry Geraghty has spoken of his disappointment at missing out on the chance to land back-to-back BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chases with Sprinter Sacre.
Nicky Henderson admitted defeat on Sunday in his quest to get the superstar back to his best in time after he was found to be suffering from an irregular heartbeat when pulled up at Kempton over Christmas. “It’s always a disappointment for connections when any horse is forced out of a big race so relatively close to the Festival, no matter who it is,” said Geraghty. “But it really hits home when it is a horse like him with such brilliance and one that every race fan wanted to see perform. It just hasn’t happened but with a horse of his stature it would be impossible to take any risk. A safety first approach with him is the only way because he is young enough to come back and rule the roost again when all the gears are connecting.” Henderson decided to draw stumps after Sprinter Sacre failed to produce quite his usual brilliance in his work with Hennessy winner Triolo D’Alene on Saturday.