Co-trainer David Hayes has confirmed that Criterion and Spillway will both head to the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Randwick next Saturday after impressive in a barrier trial at Royal Randwick this morning.
Criterion and Spillway both contested the opening barrier trial of the morning over 1200 metres and the pair were kept under a heavy hold throughout, but they were still able to hit the line strongly to finish in the placings behind Gai Waterhouse-trained Ecuador.
Spillway has not been seen at the races since he recorded a maiden win at Group 1 level in the Australian Cup at Flemington on March 14 and Hayes told Sky Racing HQ that the barrier trial had topped the Rail Link entire off nicely for a fresh tilt at the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
“Spillway is not at home on the rain-affected, but he was very good coming from last,” Hayes said.
“I think that he is in great form heading out of the Australian Cup.”
Criterion has not recorded a race win since he took out the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) during The Championships last year, but he has produced two outstanding performances since he started his autumn preparation to finish third in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Royal Randwick on March 7 and second in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21.
Hayes said that he has been absolutely thrilled with the form of Criterion this preparation and he believes that the Sebring entire could not have produced a better effort in his barrier trial this morning.
“Criterion could not have been more impressive, he never came off the bit,” Hayes said.
“We tried him in the barrier blanket because he has a habit of jumping a bit slow and I think it helped him a bit.
“I think that he will race in the barrier blanket at his next run.
“When you are racing against the best in the world you don’t want to give them a start.
“They both go into the Queen Elizabeth and we avoided the temptation of the Doncaster because I thought that they would both run better fresh.”
Criterion is currently available at 2015 Queen Elizabeth Stakes odds of $9 with Ladbrokes, while Spillway is available at a price of $21 to score a second straight win at Group 1 level.