World traveller Criterion will be kept in light work as he undergoes quarantine ahead of a preparation aimed at defending the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Criterion is back in Australia following his unplaced performance in the Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin on December 13.
The David Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained five-year-old will spend two weeks at the Werribee quarantine centre before being transferred to Hayes’ Lindsay Park property at Euroa in north-east Victoria.
“He’ll have a month up the farm,” Hayes said.
“We’ll pick out a race in probably late February to kick him off.”
Hayes said Criterion had come through his disappointing Hong Kong performance in good order.
He said after a slow beginning jockey Craig Williams dug the five-year-old up and at no stage did he travel.
“He over-raced and never got comfortable in the race,” Hayes said.
“That’s not him.”
Criterion had gone to Hong Kong in top form.
After returning from a European campaign, Criterion won the Caulfield Stakes on October 10 before running second to Winx in the Cox Plate.
He then finished third behind Prince Of Penzance and Max Dynamite in the Melbourne Cup at his first attempt at 3200 metres.
His ninth behind Japanese representative A Shin Hikari in the Hong Kong Cup was the worst performance Criterion has produced in 12 starts for Lindsay Park since he joined the stable from David Payne in November last year.
Criterion finished third in the 2014 Hong Kong Cup and went back there in April to finish third in the QEII Cup.
That performance followed his success in the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick during The Championships.
Hayes said Criterion would again be aimed at Sydney’s richest race during the Sydney autumn carnival.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au