Co-trainer David Hayes has revealed that the 2015 Queen Anne Stakes on the opening day of the Royal Ascot Meeting is still an option for Criterion.
Criterion left Hong Kong overnight to make the trip England for Royal Ascot, but Hayes told Sky Racing HQ this morning that he is yet to decide which race that the four-year-old will contest and he said that both the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes over a mile and the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes over a mile and a half are both options for the Sebring entire.
“The options are open,” Hayes said.
“On day one it is the Queen Anne over a mile or the 2000 metre Group 1 a day later.
“I just want to watch Able Friend on the weekend, he is probably the top-rated miler in the world.
“If he wasn’t going there I would be tempted to just back off him a little bit and just keep him fresh for the mile.”
Criterion earnt himself a trip to Royal Ascot when he recorded a dominant victory in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 11 and he once again stamped himself as one of the most talented horses in the world when he finished a tough third in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) at Sha Tina on April 26.
Hayes said that he was happy with the performance of Criterion in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup, but he believes that his star galloper could have recorded his second straight win at Group 1 level if he had been ridden more conservatively in the early stages of the race.
“He did a good job,” Hayes said.
“I think that if we had our time again he probably wouldn’t have been ridden as aggressively the first 300 metres, he would have been better to be sitting third or fourth with a bit of cover.
“He did it in the Queen Elizabeth and he ended up being forward with cover, so I left it to Craig and Craig made the decision, but I think he just overdid it a little bit.
“I much prefer him to relax and he might have been in the place of the winner.”
Criterion will arrive in the United Kingdom overnight and he will be based at the stable of John Gosden where Hayes’s son Ben currently works.