Leading Sydney jockey Nash Rawiller will ride at Flemington on February 15 in order to partner Criterion in the Group 3 C.S. Hayes Stakes (1500m).
Rawiller has been looking for a talented three-year-old that he can partner right through to the Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 12 and he believes that Criterion could be the horse to give him a maiden win in the Group 1 event that is now worth a lucrative $2 million.
Criterion flew home late to finish second behind Complacent in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) and worked home strongly to finish fourth in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival and Rawiller told Sky Racing HQ that he is confident that the son of Sebring has returned for his autumn campaign as a much stronger horse.
“He had his chance in the spring and ran well,” Rawiller
“He ended up going into the race (Victoria Derby) as one of the main fancies and always gave the indication that he would come back in the autumn bigger and stronger.
“I trialed him just over a month ago and he showed that he had come back bigger and stronger.
“Up here in Sydney the Derby is a terrific race for him.”
Rawiller clearly has a high opinion of Criterion and has even opted to forego his ride on classy mare Red Tracer in the Group 2 Breeders Classic (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 15 to partner the three-year-old in the C.S. Hayes Stakes.
The Premiership winning hoop has ridden Red Tracer in her last five starts, including wins in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm and the Group 1 Myer Classic (1500m) at Flemington, and he said he will reunite with the daughter of Dane Shadow for the remainder of her 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign.
“It is always a hard time of year with two terrific carnivals on at the same time,” Rawiller said.
“Thankfully Chris was happy to release me from Red Tracer and obviously I’ll be going straight back on her as soon as I get the opportunity.”
Rawiller has had six starts in the Australian Derby without success; partnering Hippopus (fifth in the 2013), Laser Hawk (third in 2012), Light Brigade (eighth in 2011), Descarado (second in 2010), Mufasa (12th in 2008) and Hofmeister (ninth in 2004).