A smart track gallop at his Euroa stables from dual Group 1 winner Criterion has trainer David Hayes confident ahead of the stallion’s first international trip for next month’s Hong Kong Cup 2014.
Hayes & co-trainer Tom Daberning recently took over the preparation of the former Sydney-based Sebring four-year-old, transferred from David Payne’s care by connections this month, and are gearing him up for a shot at glory on Sha Tin’s Hong Kong International Race Day on Sunday December 14.
There he will target the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) after leaving from Australia Tuesday week, December 2.
Before he jets off Criterion had a searching gallop at the Euroa training complex on Monday morning and worked “very good” over the 1400m, the final 400m of which was completed in 24 seconds, according to co-trainer Hayes.
“He worked really well, I was very happy with his work,” Hayes told TVN.
“He did it in good style. The way he works just tells you he’s a good horse.”
This Saturday Hayes will run Criterion a final time on Aussie soil alongside a stable mate before the Hong Kong Cup with a planned exhibition gallop at Moonee Valley Racecourse.
It will be his first run in the public eye since finishing four lengths away fifth behind Happy Trails in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day, November 1.
That followed on from a strong effort running 1.5 lengths away seventh in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 and a narrow second behind Fawkner when beaten only a short-head in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) a fortnight earlier.
In the Hong Kong Cup Criterion will shoot for his first win since completing the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) – Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) double as a three-year-old in Sydney back in the autumn.
Jockey Hugh Bowman was aboard for both of those victories, as well as three of his six starts this campaign including the Caulfield Stakes second, and travels to Hong Kong for the ride next month.
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