Co-trainer David Hayes has confirmed that Criterion will contest the 2015 Juddmonte International Stakes at York in August before he returns to Australia for the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
Criterion finished a credible fifth behind Free Eagle in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2012m) and Royal Ascot last weekend and Hayes said that the performance showed that the four-year-old was capable of competing against the best that Europe has to offer.
The Group 1 Sussex Stakes (1609m) was originally set to be the target for Criterion, but Hayes told Sky Racing HQ that the Sebring entire would run in the Juddmonte International Stakes before returning to Australia for the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 10 and Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
“We have changed our plan and we are heading towards a race called the Juddmonte International,” Hayes said.
“We just wanted to give the horse a three week break in the English summer and I found a lovely property at Newmarket just to let him get some sun on his back and have a bit of a freshen-up.
“We can do that better if he wasn’t running in the Sussex and then we have two months to build him up for the Juddmonte and then he has a couple of weeks before he goes into quarantine and he will be here for the Caulfield Stakes/Cox Plate double.
“That is what he has been set for.”
The Caulfield Stakes and the Cox Plate will be the major 2015 Spring Racing Carnival targets for Criterion, but Hayes revealed that the Australian Derby winner will be included in the 2015 Melbourne Cup nominations.
Hayes said that owner Sir Owen Glenn is keen to give Criterion an opportunity in ‘the race that stops a nation’, but Hayes said that the final decision will be left up to the Lindsay Park team
“He is going to race at his pet distance and he is going to hold a Melbourne Cup entry and Sir Owen is keen to run in the Melbourne Cup if the horse is in form and we are confident he can run the two miles,” Hayes said.
“I was very keen to get a good 2000 metre run into him in August and bring him out with the international horses.”
Criterion is currently available at 2015 Cox Plate odds of $9 with Ladbrokes and is on the third line of betting with Able Friend ($7) and Contributer ($8).