On the 20th of August 2023, Vandeek achieved Group 1 success in the Prix Morny at Deauville in France. This was the first Group 1 victory for trainers Simon and Ed Crisford, an achievement that had been years in the making. This accomplishment was preceded by Vandeek’s triumph in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, making him one of the best two-year-olds in Europe this year.
In May 2020, Simon and Ed became the first racehorse Trainers in the UK to become joint licence holders. This was a natural progression for the duo, as it was six years previously that Simon was granted his first Trainer’s licence and Ed filled the role as his Assistant.
Simon launched his training operation in October 2014 and Ed came on board having graduated from the Irish National Stud Course as well as spending time with Trainer Eoin Harty in California and the previous four seasons with John Gosden. Simon and Ed’s base was Calne Stables, a yard, and additional boxes within Carlburg Stables on the Bury Road. They enjoyed a successful opening season with 22 winners from 88 runners including their initial Group winner – First Selection winning the Group 3 Solario Stakes.
In January 2017, Simon and Ed moved their fledgling team to Kremlin House Stables before they eventually settled at Gainsborough Stables in May 2019. This last move preceded them becoming joint licence holders and the duo hit the ground running in the summer of 2020 with colts Century Dream and A’Ali winning the Group 2 Celebration Mile and Group 2 Sapphire Stakes, respectively.
The fillies began to leave their stamp on Gainsborough Thoroughbreds with three of the highest-rated two-year-old fillies in Europe in 2021 basing themselves at Gainsborough Stables - Flotus, Fast Attack and Daneh.
Flotus became synonymous with Gainsborough Thoroughbreds when breaking her maiden at Goodwood in May 2021 by almost five lengths, before going on to take the Listed Ripon Champion Two-Year-Old Trophy. It was the third time in four years that the Crisford’s had won this race. Flotus followed on from this victory to finish a strong second in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket and signed off her two-year-old campaign as the second highest-rated two-year-old filly in the UK.
She subsequently sold for one million Guineas at the Tattersalls December Mare Sale, later recording her first Group victory in 2022 for her new owner Katsumi Yoshida in the Group 3 Summer Stakes at York. Simon and Ed recorded a 1-2 in the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood that same summer when Jadoomi was challenged for the top spot by stablemate Finest Sound. This was the second occasion the training duo had won this race.
West Wind Blows, a horse that won on his first two racecourse starts, went on to become the trainer’s first runner in the 2022 Epsom Derby. This was followed by a course record-breaking performance at Hamilton in the Listed Glasgow Stakes, a race that was won again this year by Chesspiece, the duo’s first runner and winner for Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Gainsborough Stables as a yard has all the modern specification facilities such as an equine swimming pool, spa, treadmill, and sea walker as well as an indoor school and spacious outdoor trotting rings. The 100-box yard is situated on the Racecourse Side of Newmarket Heath which comprises 2,500 acres of maintained training grounds including fifty miles of turf gallops and fourteen miles of artificial tracks.
The Gainsborough team also have a satellite yard, Millennium Stables, at Dubai’s Meydan racecourse from where they send out a team of runners during the Dubai World Cup Carnival every year. In 2022 Algiers won the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile, further impressing in 2023 when winning Rounds 1 and 2 of the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge before finishing second in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup.