Smart colt Criterion took his first steps towards a start in the Group 1 $1m Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill on September 14 with a quiet trial at Rosehill yesterday.
Jockey Glyn Schofield didn’t have to overexert Criterion in the 900m hit out to convince himself to stick with the David Payne youngster for the Spring.
“He’s a more mature horse than he was in the autumn. He has grown taller but he’s still quiet, as quiet as a lamb. It was a slowly run trial today but he worked to the line well under a strong hold,” Schofield said.
Payne had trouble securing a regular rider for Criterion in the Autumn and will meet with owner Sir Owen Glenn before confirming Schofield will be his jockey for the Spring.
Schofield was one of four jockeys to partner Criterion in his Golden Slipper campaign and is keen to get back aboard the Sebring colt.
“I’m hoping to ride him this spring,” Schofield said.
“He’s a smart horse and we’ll see if he can progress to the next level.
Schofiled had two rides on Critrion, including a win in the Listed $250,000 Kamberra Wine Company Black Opal Stakes (1200m) at Canberra on March 10, but because of a prior commitment to the Gerald Ryan trained Charlie Boy in the Golden Slipper, had to forego the ride for the remainder of the Autumn.
“I had a prior commitment to another horse prior to him winning the Black Opal, and the horse went on from there,” Schofield said.
Criterion with Craig Williams up went on to beat Charlie Boy (4th) in the Group 2 $300,000 Spotless Todman Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 23 before going on to finish sixth to Overreach with Hugh Bowman in the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 6.
Payne gave Criterion one more run before heading for the spelling paddock and was beaten just over two lengths by Guelph in the Group 1 $400,000 Moet & Chandon 150th Champagne Stakes (1600m) At Randwick on April 27 with Bowman again.
Criterion is likely to have another trial before kicking off his Spring campaign in the Group 3 $125,000 The Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill on August 31, the traditional lead up to the Golden Rose.
The first Group 1 of the Sydney Spring Carnival is shaping up as another top class contest for the early three year olds and will again see Golden Slipper winner Overreach as one of the main chances.
Jockey Tommy Berry, who rode Overreach to win the Golden Slipper, has just returned from a successful short term riding contract in Hong Kong and after having scored his first Group 1 victory on Epaulette in last year’s version, is keen to win back to back Golden Roses on the Gai Waterhouse trained filly.