Three year old Criterion broke through for an overdue Group 1 victory with a runaway win in the $500,000 tab.com.au Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill today.
The David Payne trained Criterion was runner up in the Group 1 $400,000 Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick last Spring and again finished second at Group 1 level behind Shamus Award in the $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington in the early part of the Autumn.
Payne will now line up Criterion in the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 12, the first day of ‘The Championships’ and the Sebring colt is certain to start a hot favourite.
Criterion has been consistent at the highest level throughout his career and Payne says that he has matured greatly since finishing fourth to Polanski in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“He is just becoming mature and he was ridden properly today,” Payne said.
“You have to leave him alone, he is a horse that you can’t bustle.”
“He was ridden upside down the other day, he overraced. He will be winning the Derby hopefully.”
Bowman settled Criterion well back in the field with Shamus Award and then Puccini putting on a solid pace and that played right into Bowman’s hands.
Then Bowman played his winning hand when he cut the home turn on Criterion ($14) when most runners went wide and was able to sneak up along the inside before moving out to four and five horses off the fence to score a three and half lengths win over the consistent Thunder Fantasy ($12) with Queensland three year old Teronado ($8) running home for third.
“This horse has raced in the top grade in his whole career, and the last time I rode him was in the Golden Slipper,” Bowman said.
“He’s trained hereat Rosehill and he’s been racing good in Melbourne this preparation,”
“He didn’t have much luck in the Australian Guineas and up to the 2000m and was aided by a pretty genuine run race that suited him. I was able to get where I wanted to be from a wide gate and he just took me into the race when the gaps came.”
The Peter Moody trained Dissident was sent out the $4.20 equal favourite and Jim Cassidy gave him a nice run just behind the leaders and he battled on in the straight to finish sixth while co-favourite Puccini faded over the final 150m to wind up in twelfth spot after going to the front at the 1000m.