Victoria Derby runner Criterion is ready to step up to 2500m when he lines up in the three-year-old classic at Flemington on Saturday according to his trainer David Payne.
Criterion, who is bred on sprinting lines from both sides, could follow the trend set by Cox Plate winner Shamus Award who is by the speedy Snitzel out of Sunset Express, a winner of five races up to 1400m.
Shamus Award ran out a strong 2040m winning last Saturday’s Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley and Payne is confident that Criterion will run out a solid 2500m of the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby.
“He is looking for more ground and the Derby will suit him,” Payne told AAP.
Criterion is by 2008 Golden Slipper winner Sebring out of the Bite The Bullet mare Mica’s Pride who won three races up to 1250m.
Payne reported that Criterion has settled in well at his Melbourne base at Caulfield after travelling down from Sydney and has lined up Craig Williams to partner the colt in track gallop on Tuesday morning.
“Criterion is in Melbourne and had a bit of a trot around on the sand at Caulfield on Saturday,” Payne said.
“Craig Williams will gallop him on Tuesday to get a feel for him.”
Criterion has finished second at his last two starts and split other Victoria Derby fancies, Complacent and Savvy Nature, when runner up in the Group 1 $400,000 Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on October 12.
At his previous start the Sebring colt also ran home strongly for a close second to Eurozone in the Group 2 $250,000 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on September 28.
Criterion and Complacent will be having their first run in Melbourne on Saturday where as Savvy Nature has had the advantage of racing in the anti-clockwise direction when he was a decisive three lengths winner in the Group 2 $220,000 Mitchelton Wines Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
In Victoria Derby betting Criterion is at the good odds of $9.50 with the Peter Snowden trained Complacent the slight favourite at $4 just in front of Savvy Nature at $4.40.
Complacent’s stablemate San Diego is on the third line of betting at $8 with Norman Robinson Stakes winner Polanski at $9.