Jockey Hugh Bowman admits that he is having a hard time stacking up the 2014 Chelmsford Stakes form, but he is confident that his mount Criterion will produce another impressive effort in the Group 2 event at Royal Randwick tomorrow.
Criterion returned to the races with a game third behind Tiger Tees in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 23 and will face Royal Descent, Sacred Falls and Hawkspur in the Chelmsford Stakes this weekend.
Bowman said that the form coming out of the Warwick Stakes is hard to rate because of the slowly run nature of the race, but he told Racing Ahead that he was happy with the performance of Criterion and believes that he will produce an improved effort in the Chelmsford Stakes.
“It was a bit of a blanket finish, it was a slow run event in the lead-up and it was a bit of a sprint home, which probably didn’t suit any horse except for Tiger Tees who won it,” Bowman said.
“It will be interesting to see how the form stacks up from that and the form out of that is as clear as mud because they all finished beside each other.
“Up to 1600 metres, I was very happy with Criterion’s performance and I expect to see him improve a little bit on that first-up run.”
Trainer Joe Pride revealed yesterday that Laser Hawk is likely to take up the running in the Chelmsford Stakes, but there is still set to be very little early speed in the Group 2 event.
Bowman said that, despite the lack of pace, he will follow the normal racing pattern of Criterion and he expects to settle the four-year-old in the second half of the field.
“Entirely Platinum might be inclined to race handier and he is probably the good miler in the race, but I suppose that Sacred Falls, who is yet to really produce it under weight-for-age conditions, you would think that he can pop up and be counted in a race like this,” Bowman said.
“Royal Descent I thought performed well first-up, but all I can really do is worry about Criterion and his pattern is to settle back and finish on.
“Without giving him no chance, I don’t want to disturb his pattern to much either.
“From barrier eight it is quite likely that I will be midfield or a bit worse, but I impressed with his first-up run and I expect him to run well again.”
Criterion is currently available at 2014 Chelmsford Stakes odds of $5, with Entirely Platinum ($3.30) still favourite from the well-backed Royal Descent ($4.60) and Sacred Falls ($5).