A standout performer over the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, trainer David Payne has confirmed Group 1 champion Criterion will resume in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 23rd ahead of a 2014 Spring Racing Carnival geared towards the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) in October.
Returning to racing in typically exceptional form through autumn, Criterion finishing a fighting fourth in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) first-up before claiming a nail-biting second in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 1st.
Unable to match the late pace when eighth in the Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) a fortnight later, the Sebring colt responded in the best way possible; claiming back-to-back victories in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m).
Pleased with the way Criterion has returned to work, Payne told Racing Victoria his is confident the rising four-year-old will hit even greater racing heights through the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
“He’ll go to the Warwick Stakes (1400m) first on the 23rd of August and then he’ll come to Melbourne to contest the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley,” Payne said.
“He’s got to have a look at Moonee Valley because his main mission is the Cox Plate.
“He is a much better horse than last year; he’s come on a lot, much more mature he has really blossomed so we are happy with him.”
Unlucky not to break through for a Group 1 victory prior to the 2014 autumn carnival, Criterion performed particularly well over the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival; finishing second in both the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) and Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) and fourth in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) most notably.
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