Criterion won’t have to wait long before getting another chance to claim a Group One win this spring after the horse was nominated for this Saturday’s Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
It was only Saturday that the four-year-old was last seen running a luckless seventh in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) but he will back up one week later for the 2014 Mackinnon Stakes ahead of a trip to Hong Kong.
Criterion, a dual Group One winner after taking out the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) earlier this year, pulled up from his 2014 Cox Plate run so well that trainer David Payne had no hesitation about the quick back-up.
“He is a tough bugger and he has come through the race very well,” Payne told Sky Racing.
“Hong Kong has always been an option. He has been entered for both the Cup over 2000 metres and the Vase over 2400.
“We will see how he goes in the Mackinnon and take it from there.
“Corey Brown will ride him on Saturday.”
Criterion was tipped to run well in the Cox Plate, considering he drew barrier six – the most successful barrier in the race’s history – however the horse was slow out the gate and finished midfield. It was a fast-finish however, just 1½ lengths off winner Adelaide.
The four-year-old has had a busy spring campaign with five starts including the first-up Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) on August 23, in which he finished third. A win has so far eluded the horse, though he came close with runner-up finishes in both the Group 2 Hill Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m).
The $1 million Mackinnon Stakes attracted 24 nominations on Monday morning, including last year’s winner Side Glance who will also be backing up from the Cox Plate, in which he finished fourth.
Criterion is currently favourite to win the Mackinnon Stakes in the betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au at $6. However he faces tough competition in the high-profile race from the likes of Happy Trails, Epsom Handicap winner He’s Your Man, Caulfield Cup runner-up Rising Romance, and Side Glance who all share the second line of betting at $6.50.
The Mackinnon Stakes final field will be published at Races.com.au Wednesday morning, so keep the site bookmarked. Odds at Ladbrokes.com.au will shorten depending on barrier draws, so make sure you get an early bet at a lucrative price squared away today.