Black Opal Stakes winner Criterion booked a place in the Golden Slipper with a hard fought win in the Group 2 $300,000 Spotless Todman Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill today.
The David Payne trained colt finished too strongly for Blue Diamond runner up Fast ‘N’ Rocking to gain a ballot free entry into the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill in two weeks.
Craig Williams settled Criterion in the second half of the field and eased the Sebring youngster to the middle of the track and wound him up to overpower the leaders which started to stop at the 100m.
Favouirtes Charlie Boy and Whiskey Allround set the pace but were found wanting in the run to the line to finish out a place.
Criterion was having his third run back from a spell today and repeated his winning form that he showed in taking out the Listed $250,000 Kamberra Wine Company Black Opal Stakes (1200m) at Canberra on March 10 when he was wearing the blinkers for the first time.
“The blinkers have done the trick,” Payne said.
“They went a bit slow today so I was a bit concerned and he’s still a little bit tardy out of the barriers, but I think the Slipper will be a much more on pressure race.”
Payne thinks that there is still some improvement left in Criterion and the Rosehill trainer has two weeks to get him tuned right up.
Even though Williams was impressed with the win of Criterion, the top jockey will weigh up all his options before deciding on a slipper mount.
“He’s a very good solid two year old and with the line-up that’s happening now with the Golden Slipper he will be a main contender,’ Williams said.
Runner-up Fast ‘N’ Rocking showed that he is not far off the mark and lived up to trainer David Hayes expectations with another eye catching run after running second to Miracles Of Life in the Group 1 $1m Patinack Farm Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 23.