Co-trainer David Hayes has confirmed that Criterion will contest the 2015 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 17.
Hayes revealed last week that he was toying with the idea of running Criterion in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes over a mile on the opening day of the Royal Ascot meeting, but the leading trainer told Sky Racing HQ this morning that any plans to head to that race ended when Able Friend recorded another comfortable victory in the Group 1 Champions Mile (1609m) at Sha Tin on Sunday and trainer John Moore confirmed that he would be making the trip to Royal Ascot for the Group 1 mile.
“I think that he is the best miler in the world and I don’t want to go all the way to Ascot to take him on,” Hayes said.
“He is an absolute freak and a lot of people are saying that he is the best horse to race in Hong Kong ever.
“We will probably head towards the Prince Of Wales over 2000 metres and I actually think that 2000 metres is his pet distance.”
Criterion arrived in England just under a week ago and has settled in to the stable of John Gosden under the care of Hayes’ son Ben, who currently works as for the leading English trainer.
Hayes said that Criterion had settled in well to his new environment after having his second lengthy flight in as many weeks, but he revealed that the Sebring entire had still not started any serious trackwork ahead of the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes in just over a month.
“He looks a picture,” Hayes said.
“His blood count hasn’t been 100 percent back to normal after travelling, which is quite common, so he is on the easy list having a quiet time.
“He travelled two different hemispheres in two weeks with two runs, so he was always going to have an easy time.
“He is eating and settled into his new surroundings very well.
“From the first one (blood pitcher) to the second it improved dramatically, but it is not 100 percent yet and he hasn’t started work yet.
“I will be going over a couple of weeks before the big race and having a working holiday building him up towards the race.
“He hasn’t been out of work now since last spring and he has amazing residual fitness.”
Criterion is set to take on the likes of Dermot Weld-trained Free Eagle, Dubai Turf runner-up The Grey Gatsby, 2014 Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome and veteran French galloper Cirrus Des Aigles in the 2015 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.