Jockey Hugh Bowman has confirmed that he plans to ride Criterion quietly in the 2014 Hong Kong Cup and he is hoping that there is plenty of early speed in the Group 1 event at Sha Tin on Saturday.
Criterion has produced the best performances of his racing career to date when he has been settled in the second half of the field and given the opportunity to finish strongly, like he did when he won the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m), Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) and finished second in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m), and he hopes that the Sebring entire is able to replicate a similar performance in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) this weekend.
“I think that he will be suited by the way the races are run over there,” Bowman told Sky Racing HQ.
“The only thing that he probably does lack is a really good turn-of-foot for a 2000 metre horse, but if it can be run at a nice solid pace and give those backmarkers a chance that is his best chance of winning.
“I will just ride him in his comfort zone and let him finish like he did in the Rosehill Guineas.”
Bowman has four rides at Royal Randwick in Sydney on Saturday and he will make the trip to Hong Kong on Saturday night ahead of the Hong Kong International Raceday on Sunday afternoon (AEST).
The leading Sydney hoop will be returning to Hong Kong for the first time since he had a successful stint there earlier this year, where he rode 13 winners and a host of minor placings, and is still chasing a maiden Group 1 victory in the racing jurisdiction.
Bowman said that he is thrilled to have the opportunity to ride on one of the biggest race days on the global racing calendar and is hopeful that he can get the best out of Criterion in the Hong Kong Cup.
“I will here on Saturday and I fly out on Saturday night,” Bowman said.
“With the time change I will be there on Sunday morning, have a bit of a rest and then get ready.
“I am very much looking forward to that and from all reports the horse has settled in well over there.
“He obviously had a little bit of a hiccup before he left, but from what I have heard he has settled in very well and it is all systems go.”
Criterion is currently available at 2014 Hong Kong Cup odds of $11, while Designs On Rome ($3.60) remains a narrow favourite from Military Attack ($3.80).