The world tour of Criterion is set to continue with another trip to Hong Kong.
And if the five-year-old performs up to expectations he may then head to Japan.
Co-trainer David Hayes said Criterion had come through his third place behind Prince Of Penzance in the Melbourne Cup in excellent order and an exhibition gallop planned for Moonee Valley in 10 days would determine whether he again lines up in the Hong Kong Cup on December 13.
Criterion had his first start for Hayes and Tom Dabernig when third in the race last year.
He returned to Australia and had three autumn starts, culminating in victory in Sydney’s richest race, the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick.
Criterion then went back to Hong Kong where he ran third in the QEII Cup before travelling to England where he was unplaced twice.
He has had three Australian Group One starts this spring, winning the Caulfield Stakes before running second in the Cox Plate and third in the Melbourne Cup.
“He unfortunately had a very easy run in the Cup,” Hayes said.
“We’ll potter around with him and give him an exhibition gallop at the Valley.
“I think he’ll work well and we’ll be sending him, just as we did last year.”
Hayes said he was not surprised by Criterion’s durability and he would be fresh to run in Hong Kong.
If he performs up to expectations then the Arima Kinen over 2500m at Nakayama on December 27, worth approximately $A6 million, is on the agenda.
“He doesn’t surprise me any more as I know what he can do,” Hayes said.
“He has nice breaks between runs and the Melbourne Cup to Hong Kong is six weeks and he thrives on that.
“If he ran well in Hong Kong, (owner) Sir Owen Glenn is keen for him to go to Japan, and he did beat the Japanese horses quite easily in the Melbourne Cup.”
With Michael Walker to have hip surgery early next month, Craig Williams will take the ride on Criterion in Hong Kong.
Stablemate Rising Romance is also in contention for a start in the Hong Kong Cup.
OVERSEAS RECORD OF CRITERION
Hong Kong – December 14, 2014 – third Hong Kong Cup – 2000m.
Hong Kong – April 26, 2015 – third Queen Elizabeth II Cup – 2000m.
England – June 17, 2015 – fifth Prince Of Wales’s Stakes – 2012m.
England – August 19, 2015 – sixth Juddmonte International Stakes – 2092m.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au