Leading Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman has been booked to partner Criterion in the 2014 Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin on December 14.
Bowman had his first ride on Criterion when the talented entire finished a credible sixth behind Overreach in the 2013 edition of the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens and partnered him in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick three weeks later, but the son of Sebring was partnered by Christian Reith, Nash Rawiller, Brenton Avdulla and Craig Williams during his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
Rawiller, Brad Rawiller and Reith were all given a chance on Criterion at the start of the 2014 Autumn Racing Carnival, but Bowman was booked to ride him in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on March 29 and steered him to a dominant victory before he partnered the stallion prospect to a second win at Group 1 level in the Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 12.
Bowman rode Criterion in both the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) and Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at the start of his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, but missed the ride on the two-time Group 1 winner in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) due to suspension.
Criterion stamped himself as a genuine Cox Plate contender when he finished second behind Fawkner in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) with Bowman in the saddle, but another suspension forced the leading hoop to miss the rides on Criterion in both the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 and the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on November 1.
Criterion joined the Lindsay Park team of David Hayes and Tom Dabernig after running in the Mackinnon Stakes and was given a couple of quiet weeks, but has now returned to regular work as the in-form training duo attempt to get the entire ready for his maiden overseas trip for the Hong Kong Cup.
The four-year-old will leave for Hong Kong on December 1 and he won’t have another race start before making the trip, but Hayes and Dabernig are keen to give the Australian Derby winner an exhibition gallop at Moonee Valley on Saturday November 29.
Criterion is likely to be joined on the plane to Hong Kong by triple Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux, who is set to contest the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m), and Hong Kong Cup rival Farraaj.