Walker suspended but free to ride Criterion in Cox Plate

By: Mark Mazzaglia
October 15th, 2015

Jockey Michael Walker was suspended for careless riding at Caulfield on Wednesday but will be back riding in time to partner Criterion in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.

Jockey Michael Walker will be free to ride Criterion above in the yellow, in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Jockey Michael Walker will be free to ride Criterion above in the yellow, in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Walker is free to ride at Pakenham today but before he was able to start his eight meeting suspension tonight, he had to gain a release from his only ride on Caulfield Cup Day, the David Hayes and Tom Dabernig trained Sacred Eye in the Group 3 $500,000 Ladbrokes Caulfield Classic (2000m).

This will enable Walker to resume riding on October 23, the day day prior to the Cox Plate.

Hayes said that he was happy to accommodate Walker’s request so he could be re-united with Criterion in the Cox Plate after they took out the Group 1 $400,000 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield last Saturday for the Hayes – Dabernig Team.

“It’s Michael’s dream, he’s in love with Criterion. I couldn’t do it to him,” Hayes told AAP.

“And I had 15 riders ready to ride (Sacred Eye). He only had one ride for me on Saturday so it was pretty easy, and Sacred Eye is a very good ride.”

In form jockey Damian Lane was quickly snapped up to partner Sacred Eye who is the $4 favourite for the Caulfield Classic.

Criterion shot to the top of the market order for the Cox Plate after his win in the Caulfield Stakes and is now the equal $6 favourite with Aidan O’Brien’s international star Highland Reel.

Hayes took Criterion to Moonee Valley this morning to let the five year old re-familiarise himself with the tricky circuit and he wasn’t extended in a 1600m work out.

“I think we’ve got him exactly where we want him so he doesn’t need to smash the clock in the mornings. What I was looking for was to familiarise himself again with the place,” Hayes said.

“He’s so worldly now, he just took it in his stride. His recovery was great and he hasn’t turned a hair. So it’s all systems go. He’ll do a bit of work on Sunday and then we’ll just taper into the big one.”

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