Frequent flyer Criterion primed for Hong Kong Cup 2015

Trainer David Hayes declared the more kilometres Criterion travels the better he races as the entire prepares for another chance at Hong Kong Cup glory.

“Travel really build character with some horses,” Hayes said.

“I think that is the case with Criterion.

“It’s enhanced his career and he continues to rate better with every run.”

Criterion is on his third trip to Hong Kong in 12 months, having run third in last year’s Cup before filling the same placing in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in April.

In between Criterion won the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick and afterwards the five-year-old campaigned in England and returned to Australia to win the Caulfield Stakes ahead of his Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup placings.

“A trip does stimulate most horses,” Hayes said.

“Most perform well, if not better, when you get them home and I’m always happy to travel if you’ve got the right horse.”

Criterion was sent over 1200m on Sha Tin’s turf track on Tuesday morning and gave jockey Craig Williams no reason to doubt his Cup claims.

“He was so relaxed compared to the last time he was here in April,” Williams said. “He quickened up nicely over the last 200 metres and he recovered in 30 seconds.”

There is growing confidence from Kris Lees that Lucia Valentina will run a forward race in the Cup.

“She has eaten up well since she arrived and she’s in good order,” Lees said.

“We understand she has a tough assignment on Sunday but this race has been in the back of my mind for some time and she was back in form last start.”

Lucia Valentina also galloped over 1200m, rounding off her work in 23.9 seconds for the final 400m.

Sydney jockey Tommy Berry has picked up a ride in the Hong Kong Vase aboard Harbour Master, a late addition to the field.

The John Moore-trained gelding has gained a start following the withdrawal of German filly Lovelyn because of a soft tissue injury.


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