Criterion was allocated barrier one at the 2015 Queen Elizabeth II Cup barrier draw that was conducted yesterday and connections are happy with the inside draw for the Group 1 event at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Co-trainer David Hayes revealed yesterday that he was keen for Criterion to draw a barrier inside gate six in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup and fellow co-trainer Tom Dabernig told Racing Ahead this morning that the Lindsay Park team were certainly not complaining about the inside gate.
Dabernig admitted that Criterion could find himself in a difficult position if he misses the start slightly like he did in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m), but he is hopeful that jockey Craig Williams will be able to settle the triple Group 1 winner in a positive position.
“David has been there all week and he is in excellent order,” Hayes said.
“He has licked the bin since being there and all the indicators are that he is set to perform very well.
“Barrier one we are certainly not complaining about.
“He is a horse that can jump a fraction slow, but hopefully he can jump cleanly like he did in the Queen Elizabeth.
“If he missed it a little bit it could prove a bit of a challenge if we were back and bottled up, but Craig knows him and he wears the barrier blanket.
“We are as confident as we can be heading into a big race like that.”
Williams has been booked to ride Criterion in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup and he will make the flight to Hong Kong after he finishes his riding commitments at Flemington on Saturday.
Williams posted on his website this morning that he was thrilled with the effort of Criterion in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 11 and he believes that the inside draw is a positive for the Sebring entire.
“I couldn’t have been more impressed with his win in The Championships and the reports are he has travelled over to Hong Kong much better than when he was there in December last year finishing third,” Williams said.
“He has come up with barrier one which is an advantage and I’m really looking forward to flying the Australian and New Zealand flag in one of Hong Kong’s biggest races.”
Designs On Rome drew towards the outside of the Queen Elizabeth II Cup field, but he remains a narrow favourite with Ladbrokes at a quote of $2.70 from Criterion ($3), Military Attack ($6), Red Cadeaux ($11), Smoking Sun ($13) and Staphanos ($15).