Triple Group 1 winner Criterion has arrived safely in Hong Kong and will begin preparations for the 2015 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin on April 26.
Co-trainer David Hayes and owner Sir Owen Glenn confirmed after Criterion’s most impressive victory in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday that he would return to Hong Kong for the second time and take on the likes of Military Attack, Designs On Rome and Red Cadeaux in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup.
Criterion was almost barred from making the trip to Hong Kong for the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) in December last year after he suffered an allergic reaction to a tick wash that connections originally feared was a bout of colic, but Hayes told Racing.Com that the Sebring entire had a far smoother trip to Hong Kong this time in.
“It was a lot less dramatic this time,” Hayes said.
“Last time he had a violent reaction to the tick wash, so we were able to manage the tick wash a bit better this time.
“He’s landed safely.
“I’m pleased to report he ate all his feed before he left and he hasn’t had time to eat it yet over there. “
He’s just settling in.”
Hayes confirmed that Criterion would have a very quiet week coming out of his Queen Elizabeth Stakes victory and he said that he will likely only give the four-year-old only one serious piece of trackwork heading into the Queen Elizabeth II Cup – a method that has worked extremely well with Criterion since he joined the Hayes and Dabernig stable at the end of his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
“This week he’ll be just recovering from his race, having easy canters and then I’ll give him a little bit of striding work the Wednesday before the Sunday,” Hayes said.
“He just needs a good week to settle in.
“Normally I’d do the final hit-out on the Tuesday, but I want to give him an extra day given the quick back-up.”
Criterion is set to head to England for a race like the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes (1600m) or Group 1 Prince Of Wales Stakes (2000m) during the 2015 Royal Ascot Meeting and Hayes told RSN on Saturday that Sir Owen Glenn is keen to race Criterion on during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival and set him for another tilt at the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Criterion has now recorded six wins from his 26 race starts and accumulated almost $6 million in prizemoney.