Criterion had his 2014 Cox Plate odds slashed when he finished second behind Fawkner in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) and the Sebring entire is a genuine chance of becoming the first horse since Bonecrusher in 1986 to complete the Australian Derby/Cox Plate double.
Criterion took out the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and returned to the races with a tough third in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 23 before he failed to fire in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at the same venue on September 6.
The four-year-old returned to a semblance of his best form with a second place finish behind Junoob in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on September 20 before he stamped himself as a genuine 2014 Cox Plate contender with a fast-finishing second in the Caulfield Stakes.
Can Criterion return to winning form in the 2014 Cox Plate and record another major race win for the much maligned crop of four-year-olds?
Cox Plate Horse Form: #8 Criterion
- Barrier: 6
- Weight: 57.5kg
- Jockey: James McDonald
- Trainer: David Payne
- Owners: Sir Own Glenn
- Age: 4YO
- Gender: Entire
- Breeding: by Sebring from Mica’s Pride
- Career: 20:5-5-2
- Win: 25%
- Place: 35%
- Last 5: X3722
- Prize Money: $2,473,700
- Track: 0:0-0-0
- Distance: 0:0-0-0
- Current 2014 Cox Plate Odds: $7
Why Criterion Can Be The 2014 Cox Plate Winner
- Criterion flew home late to finish second in the Caulfield Stakes and would have gone past Fawkner with another 40 metres.
- The Sebring entire is a proven Group 1 performer after taking out the Rosehill Guineas and Australia Derby as a three-year-old.
- Criterion will receive an ideal run into the race from barrier six and the expected quick tempo set by The Cleaner will suit the four-year-old, who has previously won over 2400 metres.
- He has the ability to work into a race coming around the turn and he looked to have no problems handling the tight-turning Moonee Valley circuit when he galloped during Breakfast With The Best on Tuesday morning.
- Criterion won the Australian Derby fifth-up last preparation and he will be at his absolute peak for the Cox Plate this weekend.
- Jockey James McDonald is arguably the form hoop in Australia after winning the Caulfield Guineas on Shooting To Win and almost stealing the Caulfield Cup on Rising Romance last weekend.
Why Criterion Can’t Win The 2014 Cox Plate
- Australian Derby winners have a poor recent record in the Cox Plate and no horse has done the double since Bonecrusher in 1986.
- Criterion’s regular jockey Hugh Bowman will miss the Cox Plate due to suspension and James McDonald will be having his first race ride on the horse.
- Criterion will likely be giving the likes of Fawkner, Side Glance and The Cleaner a headstart at the 300 metre mark and may not have the chance to run them down in the small Moonee Valley straight.
- The four-year-old has not recorded a race win in his four previous starts in Melbourne.
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