Criterion’s departure for Hong Kong could be delayed after the four year old suffered a bout of colic on Sunday night.
The Australian Derby winner was due to fly out from Melbourne this afternoon with the Robert Heathcote trained Buffering but co-trainer David Hayes is uncertain if he will make the flight and is looking to organize another flight later in the week.
Criterion is one of the five international horses invited to run in the Group 1 HK$25m Longines Hong Kong Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin on December 14.
While Buffering will line up in the Group 1 HK$18.5m Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) on the same day.
Hayes said that Criterion has responded to treatment well and was bright this morning when he did light work and expects him to make a full and quick recovery.
“I’m finding out options if I can go a day or so later. We could travel today, but I would prefer an extra day,” Hayes told Racing Netwwork.
“He had a bit of a tummy ache, a bit of mild colic last night. He was hot and bothered last night, but he’s quite comfortable now.
“It’s just bad timing. The way he was this morning, I’m not worried about him.”
Hayes and co-trainer Tom Dabernig had only recently taken over the training of Criterion after Sydney trainer David Payne prepared the Sebring stallion to win two Group 1s as a three year old during the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Criterion won the Group 1 $500,000 TAB.com.au Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill but has hasn’t been in the winner’s stall since winning the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick in April.
From six runs under the care of Payne during the Spring Carnival, Criterion was placed three times as well as running seventh, beaten just under one and a half lengths by Adelaide in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
At his most recent run for Payne, Criterion finished fifth behind Happy Trails in the Group 1 $1m Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on November 1 before being transferred to Hayes and Dabernig.
Hayes had been happy with the four year old’s progress since he entered his new surroundings and was very bright when he galloped with stablemate Purple Smile in between races at Moonee Valley on Saturday, working over 1400m and running the final 400m in 22.64secs.