David Payne’s Sebring colt Criterion has opened top of the 2014 Australian Derby final field odds to become the third three-year-old in the past 11 years to take out the Rosehill Guineas – Derby double during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
One of a capacity 18 acceptors for this year’s $2 million Group 1 BMW Australian Derby (2400m), running as Royal Randwick Race 6 on Doncaster Day, Criterion was last seen improving on a Randwick Guineas eighth to take out the Group 1 Rosehill edition on March 29.
There they enjoyed a step up to 2000m, got a lovely run from a wide barrier (12 of 15) and won by a handy three and a half lengths.
Now they’re tipped to relish another distance increase when they go up to the mile and a half for Saturday’s Derby, Criterion the $3.60 favourite to win.
They’re after the same double It’s A Dundeel won last year; the other Rosehill Guineas winner to back up and take out the Derby next run being Eremein (2005).
While Criterion enjoyed their wide barrier for the Guineas, on Saturday they might have to change tactics after drawing barrier one in the bumper field.
Three of their rivals also sit at single figures with:
- #2 Puccini ($6.50) – Visiting New Zealand-trained Encosta De Lago colt who won three straight back home before travelling across the Tasman for a shot at Sydney’s spoils, best effort was two length Group 1 NZ Derby win over the 2400m a distance they’ll relish getting back up over here after running a below par 12th in the Rosehill Guineas in their Australian debut
- #3 Thunder Fantasy ($8) – Anthony Cummings-trained Lucky Owners colt is another one waiting for the distance having finished third in last year’s Victoria Derby (2500m), won the Autumn Stakes first-up this time in before their Australian Guineas third in Melbourne, didn’t handle the older horses when eighth in the Australian Cup also at Flemington but then came to Sydney for a good second in the Rosehill Guineas which they should be better than this weekend
- #5 Teronado ($10) – Bruce Hill’s Queensland galloper, this Testa Rossa gelding has been thereabouts all season and just itching for a win, most recent efforts were a Randwick Guineas fourth and a Rosehill Guineas third and while they’re yet to race over further than 2000m, their runs indicate further ground could suit
Also in the mix under $20 are the likes of Rosehill Guineas fourth placegetter Savvy Nature ($10), the Kevin Moses-trained Singing Flame ($14) who ran second in last weekend’s Tulloch Stakes in the wet, Casino Prince colt Hooked ($16), Peter Snowden’s Street Cry three-year-old Tupac Amaru ($16) and Tulloch Stakes winner Gallatin ($17) who will appreciate another soft track here.
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