Australian Guineas 2015 Test for Captain

Flemington training duo David Hayes and Tom Dabernig will put undefeated young three-year-old Hong Kong Captain to the test on Wednesday looking to confirm a 2015 Australian Guineas campaign for the horse this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.


Criterion is likely to target the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Stakes chasing the juicy $4 million in prize money on offer in Sydney’s richest race this autumn. Photo: Steve Hart.

Tomorrow the Host gelding will defend his unbeaten status having just his second career run in the $35,000 Heading Out Hair & Beauty Handicap (1400m) at Sandown Hill’s Sportingbet Park.

Drawn in barrier one the up-and-comer is on 59.5kg and is sure to start one of the top fancies in the markets at following his win on debut.

Back on December 17 Hong Kong Captain ran for the first time without an official trial in a Mornington maiden over 1200m.

He showed good pace from his outside barrier seven of seven draw and settled just outside the leader with Michael Walker in the saddle.

Moving up with ease as they approached the turn for home, the eventual winner went to the front with 150m left to travel and held on to beat home Wonderful Journey by a length.

He is up in distance and weights on Wednesday after carrying 57kg on debut, suspended stable jockey Walker replaced by Damien Oliver in the saddle this weekend, and shows “nice improvement” since last start according to co-trainer Dabernig.

“He’s a relaxed sort of horse, he’s hard to get a guide on his track work, but he appears well,” Dabernig told TVN on Tuesday.

If he runs well in the three-year-olds’ Benchmark 64 handicap this week then Dabernig said they would seriously consider a $500,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) bid at Flemington Racecourse on March 7 with the $150,000 Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1200m) back at the track on Black Caviar Lightning Stakes Day, February 21, the next-up option.

The other headliners in Wednesday’s race are the Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained top weight Java coming off back-to-back wins, Darren Weir’s colt Lecia Day who won at Geelong on Boxing Day and Golden Apollo who showed nice form on New Year’s Eve winning at Echuca.

Dabernig meanwhile said Sebring four-year-old Criterion was in quarantine at Werribee after returning home from his maiden international run when a brave third behind Designs On Rome and Military Attack in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) on December 14.

Winner of Rosehill Guineas – ATC Derby double as a three-year-old last autumn, Criterion could resume in a race like $1 million Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) on Golden Slipper Day at Rosehill Gardens on March 21.

From there Dabernig said his major aim would be Sydney’s richest race, the $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) run under weight-for-age conditions at Royal Randwick on April 11.

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