Co-trainer David Hayes has revealed that Criterion has settled in well in Hong Kong and has put weight back on ahead of the 2015 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin next Sunday.
Criterion secured a return to Hong Kong when he recorded a dominant victory over a very strong field in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 11 and he made the trip to Hong Kong on Tuesday.
Hayes revealed that Criterion lost about eight kilograms during the trip to Hong Kong, but he told the Hong Kong Jockey Club that the Sebring entire had already a fair bit of that weight on and was doing everything right ahead of the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m).
“The horse is really well,” Hayes said.
“He lost about eight kilos going over, which is very good given that he had a race on the Saturday and then the flight on the Monday night.
“I understand Red Cadeaux was exactly the same in terms of weight loss.
“Criterion has been eating up well since he arrived and put that weight back on.
“I’ll come up on Tuesday and he’ll have his final piece of work on Wednesday morning.
“He’s very fit as it is and he doesn’t need a lot of work.
“He’ll have a nice breeze-up and be right to go on the Sunday.”
Criterion made the trip to Hong Kong at the end of his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign for the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) and he was settled towards the front of the field in the early stages of the race and kicked away from his rivals at the top of the straight before he was run down in the last 100 metres by the talented duo of Designs On Rome and Military Attack.
The four-year-old returned to Australian racing over the unsuitable distance of 1300 metres in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Royal Randwick on March 7, but was still able to hit the line strongly to finish third and he was only narrowly denied by Japanese star Real Impact in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21.
Criterion was the best-backed runner in the lead-up to the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and he was left in front a long way from home, but he responded extremely well when asked for an extra effort to record an emphatic win from Red Cadeaux and Royal Descent.
Criterion is currently available at 2015 Queen Elizabeth II Cup odds of 2.80 and is locked in a battle for favouritism with Designs On Rome ($2.80).