Criterion remains on track to contest the 2014 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 25 after he was treated for a back issue following his lackluster performance in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m).
Criterion produced the worst performance of his career to date when he beat home just a single runner in the Chelmsford Stakes at Royal Randwick on Saturday, but he was found with a back issue after the race they may be the reason for his poor effort in the Group 2 event.
Stuart Rankin, the stable foreman for David Payne who is currently in England, told Sky Racing HQ that Criterion had responded well to treatment for the back problem and he is confident that the son of Sebring can return to his best form during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
“He pulled up with a bit of a back issue that has been sorted out,” Rankin said.
“We had Ian Burns who came in on Tuesday morning and he did a bit of treatment on his back and he seemed to come through that very, very well.
“I have been riding this horse and he has come on leaps and bounds ever since he had his back done and he will only get better from now on in.
“Ian Burns has had a very good record with our horses and he (Criterion) has been done prior, he was done prior to winning the actual Derby.
“He does an excellent job with him and it really works.
“It just takes a little bit of a slip from one of their back legs and they can pull a couple of muscles.
“He has no major issues and in terms of soundness he is still very, very sound.”
The Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick and the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 20 both loom as potential options for Criterion as he builds towards the Cox Plate, but Rankin said that he expects the Australian Derby winner to have one more race start in Sydney.
“He is targeting the race in Sydney, which would be his final race start in Sydney before heading to the Melbourne Carnival,” Rankin said.
“I will leave that in David’s hands and he will obviously have a look at him once he is back from England.
“At this point in time we are definitely looking at another race here.”
Criterion is currently available at 2014 Cox Plate odds of $21 with Ladbrokes Australia.