Co-trainer David Hayes has revealed that Criterion suffered from an allergic reaction rather than a colic attack before he left for a tilt at the 2014 Hong Kong Cup on Monday.
Criterion looked as though he would miss the trip to Hong Kong after he showed symptoms of colic on Sunday night, but he was passed fit by Racing Victoria vet Brian Stewart and after plenty of discussion with government officials was finally allowed to join Hong Kong Sprint hopeful Buffering on the flight to Hong Kong.
Hayes told RSN this morning that Criterion had been found with a rash after he arrived in Hong Kong and he said that the son of Sebring had actually had an allergic reaction to tick shampoo rather than suffered from colic on Sunday night.
“On the Sunday he had to get a tick shampoo from the Jockey Club appointed vet and what happened is that the horse is very thin-skinned and he was the 1 in 1000 horses that were allergic to it,” Hayes said.
“He was showing symptoms on a very hot Sunday afternoon of a colic, but he was actually reacting to the shampoo.
“He recovered very quickly, but it was just stinging him and he was acting like it was colic.
“We treated him as if he had colic, but four days later he has come out with a rash on his back in Hong Kong.
“We are not worried, an allergy is much better than a colic.
“We said it was a colic, we thought it was a colic, but when the rash broke out a few days ago we knew that he had a reaction.
“It was a bit of a drama, but thankfully we got him on the plane.”
While there was plenty of drama getting Criterion onto the flight to Hong Kong, Hayes said that the two-time Group 1 winner has settled in beautifully since arriving at the quarantine facility at Sha Tin.
Hayes is set to fly out to Hong Kong to join Criterion on Saturday, but he does not plan on giving too much work to the four-year-old who had six race starts in races like the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m), Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
“He is having a light canter this morning and he will do a little bit of striding work either Friday or Saturday,” Hayes said.
“He will work on the course proper on Tuesday, but I am not going to do a lot with him because I think he is a very fit horse.
“He has a very similar program to what Better Loosen Up when he went to Japan all those years ago.
“When you have had a big spring you don’t need a lot of work and he won’t do a lot of work going into this 2000 metre race.”
Criterion is currently available at 2014 Hong Kong Cup odds of $13 with Ladbrokes, while Designs On Rome ($4) is a narrow favourite from Military Attack ($4.60), Blazing Speed ($7), Farraaj ($7), Cirrus Des Aigles ($9) and Archimedes ($10).