The Lindsay Park Team of David Hayes and Tom Dabernig have two live chances with Criterion and Almoonqith in the 2015 Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday.
Hayes captured the 1994 Melbourne Cup with Jeune and will team up with his nephew Tom Dabernig to saddle up Criterion and Almoomqith.
Hayes’ confidence was boosted when Criterion came up with gate four at the Melbourne Cup barrier draw on Saturday night and said that the nice alley will give the top weight for age performer a chance to settle back in the pack and let jockey Michael Walker give him every opportunity to run out the 3200m at his first attempt at the distance.
“I was really worried when we had a 66% chance of drawing the outside (22 or 24) with three barriers left so when he drew barrier four that was ideal and with the way the track’s playing it’s the perfect barrier,’ Hayes told racing.com.
“With that weight (57kg) and the query at the distance he needs a cushy run.
“He’s a weight-for-age horse that relaxes, he’ll get a beautiful run now and Michael’s just got to time his run and he’ll be there at some stage in the straight.
“If it was to rain, Criterion is as good of a wet-tracker as I’ve trained.”
Criterion showed his ability on a heavy track when he ploughed through the mud to win the 2014 Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick and the forecast for Melbourne over the next couple of days is for some rain.
The five year old stallion’s recent form has also been first class with a win in the Group 1 $400,000 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 10 followed by a second in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24 when he had to chase Winx home.
Criterion is marked as a $15 chance for the Melbourne Cup with Ladbrokes.com.au while stablemate Almoonqith is quoted at $16.
Almoonqith threw himself into Melbourne Cup calculations with a comfortable win in the Group 3 $300,000 Geelong Cup (2400m) at Geelong on October 21 and has drawn barrier ten with Dwayne Dunn to ride.
“It’s the first decent barrier since I’ve trained him and he should get a lovely run,” Hayes said.
“If you draw out it’s not impossible but there’s a chance that you could get caught wide at the first bend and I think if you did the stats on horses that are caught wide at that first bend, not many win.
“Almoonqith’s absolutely thriving. If I was against Almoonqith I’d be very worried about him with the way he won at Geelong.
“I wouldn’t swap my pair for anyone’s horses. They’re sound, they’ve had great preparations and we’re quietly confident that we’re going to go pretty close.”
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Melbourne Cup market order with Ladbrokes.com.au: $4 Fame Game, $9 Trip To Paris, $10 Preferment, $14 Max Dynamite, $15 Criterion, $16 Almoonqith, $19 The United States, $21 Who Shot Thebarman, Bondi Beach, $26 Our Ivanhowe, Excess Knowledge, Red Cadeuax, Kingfisher,$31 Hartnell, Hokko Brave, $34 Grand Marshall, Gust Of Wind, $41 Snow Sky, The Offer, $51 Sky Hunter, Big Orange, $81 Prince Of Penzance, $101 Quest For More, $201 Sertorius.
Have a bet on the Melbourne Cup with Ladbrokes.com.au and go into the draw to win a Ford Ranger, an Aquamaster Boat or a Honda Bike. To be eligible to win, just place a bet of any value on the 2015 Melbourne Cup. This includes- but is not restricted to- all bets on Futures, All In, Exotic, Best Tote or SP and Fixed Odds markets. For full terms and conditions go to Ladbrokes.com.au.