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Trainer David Payne is confident of the chances of stable star Criterion in this weekend’s Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick after drawing the inside barrier for the feature race on day one of the inaugural The Championships.
Opening as favourite in early betting markets for success in the Australian Derby and maintaining following Tuesday evening’s favourable barrier draw, Payne told TVN gate 1 should be ideal for Criterion’s early race plan this weekend.
“I’d prefer to draw barrier 1 than 18, we are happy with that, should allow him to get cover from the start, it is up to Hugh (Bowman, jockey) now” Payne said.
Breaking through for a maiden win at the peak of Australian racing in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) last time out, Payne revealed his delight at saddling a strong and successful Australian stayer.
“Criterion has raced against the best from a two-year-old, all the shorter races too and he has held his own and all along this is the trip I thought he would excel at” Payne said.
“I just prefer staying horses to train; those sprinters are a dime a dozen, especially in Australia.
“That is why these imported horses are cleaning up here; we are breeding away from stamina.
“There is more planning; it is how you work them. A lot of sprinters, you don’t have to do much with them at all.
“With a stayer, you have to keep them ticking over, make sure they have done enough work; it is all about planning ahead and having them peaking on the right day.”
Returning to the track in good order this season, Criterion is currently offered at $3.60 odds in betting markets for the 2014 Australian Derby ahead of New Zealand raider Puccini ($6.50), Rosehill Guineas second Thunder Fantasy ($8) and Teronado ($9).
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