Criterion will return to Australia for the 2015 Cox Plate after he finished an unlucky sixth in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes (2012m) at York overnight.
Jockey William Buick was able to settle Criterion in a lovely position in the early stages of the race, but he lost all of his momentum coming around the backstraight after he was almost put through the inside rail by Frankie Dettori on dominant favourite Golden Horn.
Criterion was able to pick up in the straight and he looked like a chance of finishing in the placings, but he tired in the final stages of the race to finish sixth, while Arabian Queen was able to upset the previously unbeaten Golden Horn.
Trainer David Hayes admitted before the race that Criterion was unlikely to win the Juddmonte International Stakes, but he believes that the Sebring entire could have finished closer to the placings if he had received a clear run in the Group 1 event.
“Frankie’s knocked him down and we were further back than we wanted – it’s probably cost him running fourth,” Hayes told the media after the race.
“He put himself into it, it was a bit like his Ascot run really, in a better race than Ascot.
“He’s finished very close to them – The Grey Gatsby would be the favourite in the Cox Plate.
“He was third and ended up sixth.
“Instead of being ahead of those good horses he was behind them, I would have preferred them running at him (rather) than him running at them.”
While Hayes was slightly disappointed with Criterion’s final result in the Juddmonte International, he said that the triple Group 1 winner had come out of the race in excellent condition and he confirmed that his star galloper would return to Australia on September 26th before he contests the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 10 and the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley a fortnight later.
“It’s straight back for the Cox Plate,” Hayes said.
“We needed to have a race to have an English prep going into it.
“I think we’ll just go that way, it’s a very good lead-in to the Cox Plate.”
Criterion finished a credible seventh behind Adelaide in the Cox Plate last year, but he has gone to another level under the care of David Hayes and he scored a dominant victory in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) during the 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Criterion is currently available at 2015 Cox Plate odds of $13 with Ladbrokes and he is on the third line of betting behind Arod ($10) and Contributer ($10).