Talented stayer Criterion has made it back-to-back Group 1 victories this afternoon, sprinting well to claim the Australian Derby (2400m) on day 1 of The Championships at Royal Randwick Racecourse this afternoon.
Jumping well, Criterion quickly took up the early pace over the first 300 metres before settling back in the pack and allowing Puccini, Surge Ahead and Best Case to set the early pace.
Appearing well and truly up against the odds rounding the bend into the final straight, the Sebring colt quickly regathered and found the front, sprinting well and maintaining to the line to finish half a length in the clear of Tupac Amaru and outsider Hooked.
Trainer David Payne was understandably thrilled with Criterion’s performance in the 2014 Australian Derby, but conceded the run was not fault-free.
“He’s only becoming a horse now; he was very weak and if you look at him now he’s furnished and it makes a difference” Payne said following the Derby.
“Hugh (Bowman) said to me he wasn’t going to change tactics and all I said to him was please get off the fence, that’s all.
“You could see him push out but then he still really couldn’t get wider; I think a bit wider would have helped but he won and that’s the main thing.”
Un-trialled on a damp Randwick track, Payne was pleased by Criterion’s ability to overcome the less-than-ideal surface.
“He’s never been better, but the weather worried me. I didn’t know how he’d handle Randwick heavy because it’s different to Rosehill and Canterbury” he said.
Jockey Hugh Bowman delivered a sensational ride on Criterion in the Australian Derby, and was ecstatic to claim his first win in the feature event.
“I’m just so proud to have won this race and am so happy for Sir Owen Glenn (owner) and of course David Payne” Bowman said immediately after dismounting.
“He’s raced at the top level his whole career and broke through for a dominant win two weeks ago and we were very confident here today.
“The rain only made me more confident because he showed me what he could do on rain affected ground two weeks ago and he didn’t let me down.
“I was mindful not to overdo it; I wanted to ensure I had the horse in a nice comfortable rhythm as I did two weeks ago.
“I didn’t think the pace would be so strong so I tried to just hold my ground from barrier 1 and I was able to do that without being too assertive and it was just a case of finding the runs when they came.
“At the 200 my horse just went to another level and like I said, I’m just so proud.”
Having claimed the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) prior to his 2014 Australian Derby success, Criterion will be aiming to complete a hat trick next weekend, with a likely appearance in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) looming.
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2014 Australian Derby Results
|1||1||CRITERION (NZ)||David Payne||Hugh Bowman||–||1||56.5kg||$2.90F|
|2||12||TUPAC AMARU||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||0.4L||4||56.5kg||$16|
|3||9||HOOKED||John P Thompson||Blake Shinn||1.2L||3||56.5kg||$31|
|4||4||SAVVY NATURE (NZ)||John O’Shea||James McDonald||5L||12||56.5kg||$11|
|5||2||PUCCINI (NZ)||Peter & Jacob McKay||Craig Williams||7.6L||11||56.5kg||$9|
|6||8||GALLATIN||Peter Snowden||Nash Rawiller||9.3L||17||56.5kg||$8.50|
|7||13||SINGING FLAME||Kevin Moses||Tim Clark||11.1L||2||56.5kg||$8|
|8||10||BEST CASE (NZ)||Anthony Cummings||Christian Reith||11.4L||13||56.5kg||$26|
|9||14||CADILLAC MOUNTAIN||Peter G Moody||Chad Schofield||11.6L||16||56.5kg||$41|
|10||17||SURGING WAVE||David Hayes||Michael Rodd||13.4L||9||56.5kg||$51|
|11||11||CRIME FIGHTER||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||13.8L||5||56.5kg||$41|
|12||18||HERESDECASINO||Neville & Christopher Voigt||Anthony Cavallo||19.4L||7||56.5kg||$301|
|13||3||THUNDER FANTASY||Anthony Cummings||Damien Oliver||20.6L||8||56.5kg||$8|
|14||5||TERONADO||Bruce W Hill||Craig Newitt||27.3L||10||56.5kg||$19|
|15||16||MOUNTAIN VIEW (NZ)||John Sargent||Joao Moreira||32.3L||18||56.5kg||$101|
|16||6||KOROIBETE||Gerald Ryan||Damian Browne||39.4L||6||56.5kg||$81|
|17||7||SURGE AHEAD||Anthony Cummings||Zac Purton||47.2L||15||56.5kg||$71|
|18||15||SOLO SAGA||Bevan Laming||Jim Cassidy||48L||14||56.5kg||$101|