Criterion is set to back-up in the 2014 Mackinnon Stakes and trainer David Payne believes that the talented entire will relish a return to a larger track in the Group 1 event at Flemington on Saturday.
Criterion was well-backed in the lead-up to the Cox Plate following his fast-finishing second behind Fawkner in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 11, but nothing went his way during the run and he was always on the wrong leg.
The son of Sebring was still able to work home strongly to finish seventh, just over half a length behind impressive winner Adelaide, and Payne told Racing Ahead this morning that the four-year-old had come through the run well and he was happy to back him up just seven days later in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
“He missed the break, got cut off at the winning post and the horse that ran last kept falling back into him,” Payne said.
“He was always on the wrong foot.
“He will just have an easy week and he is as fit as a fiddle.
“The plan wasn’t to run him, but when everything went wrong there we thought what the hell we may as well have another crack.”
Criterion is yet to record a win in his three race starts at Flemington, but he has produced outstanding performances in each of his runs at the home of the Victoria Racing Club.
The two-time Group 1 winner made his Flemington debut when he worked home strongly to finish a brave fourth behind Polanski in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) last year and he started his autumn campaign with a fourth place finish in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) in February this year before he finished a strong second behind Shamus Award in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m).
Payne believes that Flemington is the ideal track for Criterion and he feels that the long straight will give the Sebring entire every possible opportunity to record his third win at the highest level of racing.
“It is a nice big track and he will love that long straight,” Payne said.
“He will be able to at least get balanced up.
“He is better ridden quiet and we are not going to change his pattern now.
“He is a beautiful horse, he has really developed and is a nice strong bloke.”
Criterion is currently available at 2014 Mackinnon Stakes odds of $6 and he is on the second line of betting with Ladbrokes behind Epsom Handicap winner He’s Your Man ($5.50).