Australian Derby winner Criterionworked home strongly under a tight hold to finish third in a barrier trial over 1030 metres at Rosehill Gardens this morning.
Criterion was settled towards the tail of the field in the early stages of the trial by jockey Jeff Lloyd and was taken wide coming around the final turn before making up plenty of ground late to finish third behind Reply Churlish and Snazzy Sox.
The rising four-year-old was the star three-year-old performer of the 2014 Autumn Racing Carnival; finishing second behind Shamus Award in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington March 1 before winning the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 29 and the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 12.
The Sebring entire has been set for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and he will likely have one more barrier trial start before he begins his spring preparation in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 23.
Criterion is currently rated a $26 chance with Ladbrokes Australia to become the first horse since Bonecrusher in 1986 to win the Australian Derby and Cox Plate in the same year.
Steve Englebrecht-trained Reply Churlish was having her second barrier trial start this preparation and looks set to return to the races shortly after her impressive performance.
The O’Reilly mare started her summer campaign with four straight wins at Canberra, Hawkesbury, Kembla Grange and Rosehill Gardens, but finished her preparation with three disappointing performances in the autumn.
Snazzy Soz also produced a strong performance in the barrier trial and the provincial galloper could be given the chances to make his metropolitan debut during his upcoming preparation.
Criterion’s stablemate Honorius was settled just behind the pace in the early stages of the trial and worked home fairly under a heavy hold as he builds towards a spring campaign.
Patinack Farm-owned Tremec was a late additional to the barrier trial after he was scratched from a trial at Royal Randwick on Friday and he was given a quiet trial at the tail of the field in what was his first public appearance since his tough 11th place finish in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on April 19.