Criterion has been backed into 2015 George Ryder Stakes odds of $10 and has been the market mover in betting markets for the Group 1 event that will be held at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Criterion opened at a quote of $12 when the George Ryder Stakes field was released on Wednesday, but there has been plenty of support for the two-time Group 1 winner and he was backed into as short as $9.50 before he drifted back out to $10.
The Sebring entire started his 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign with a fast-finishing third behind Cosmic Endeavour in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Royal Randwick on March 7 and co-trainer David Hayes believes that the four-year-old could have finished even closer to the winner if there was a bit more tempo in the early stages of the race.
Hayes told RSN this morning that he is hoping that there is plenty of speed in the George Ryder Stakes and if there is he is confident that Criterion has the freshness to be involved in the finish.
“I was very happy with him,” Hayes said of Criterion’s run in the Canterbury Stakes.
“He ran brilliant sectionals on the day, I think he ran home on the day nearly as good as anything over the last 400.
“He was probably beaten by tempo the other day and hopefully it is a high pressure George Ryder and he will be in the finish.
“He certainly hasn’t gone backwards and we thought that he was going pretty well into the first one.
“We haven’t really squeezed him between runs to try and keep the freshness and we will tune him up for the Queen Elizabeth in three weeks.”
Criterion will be returning to Rosehill Gardens for the ninth time in his racing career in the George Ryder Stakes and he has an excellent record at the venue.
He made his racing debut at Rosehill Gardens when he defeated Sweet Idea to take out the Lidoran Group Plate (1100m) in November of 2012 and he had no luck when third behind Never Can Tell in the Listed Canonbury Stakes (1100m) in February of 2013.
Criterion returned to Rosehill Gardens to take out the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) and he went on to hit the line strongly for sixth in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) a fortnight later.
The talented entire failed to fire in both the Group 3 The Run To The Rose (1200m) and Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m), but he returned to his best form with a second place finish in the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m).
Criterion went into the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at double figure odds last year, but he clearly relished the step-up to 2000 metres and he romped home to record a maiden win at Group 1 level in dominant fashion.
Shooting To Win ($4.80) remains a narrow favourite in the George Ryder Stakes betting market with Ladbrokes from Cosmic Endeavour ($5), Kermadec ($6) and World Ace ($7).