James McDonald will be hoping for a quick return...
Hugh Bowman is happy to stick with the returning Criterion in Saturday’s Canterbury Stakes 2015 in Sydney despite admitting he wished he had known the race was on favourite Catkins’ radar.
Bowman has ridden Chris Waller’s in-form mare Catkins for much of her career including back-to-back wins this time in at Rosehill in the Group 2 Breeders Classic (1200m) and the Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) last month.
On Saturday at Randwick five-year-old Catkins is the current $3.10 favourite and market mover through Ladbrokes.com.au to add a Group 1 win to her title and win her third on the trot in the $500,000 Canterbury Stakes (1300m).
Bowman however won’t be aboard with Waller putting Jim Cassidy on the striking grey’s back after Bowman committed himself to rival Criterion, not knowing Catkins was racing in the Canterbury this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
“I didn’t know she was going there until after I won on her the other day and I had already been booked for Criterion,” Bowman told the Sydney Morning Herald this week.
The David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Criterion is drawn one outside of Catkins in barrier four, and pays $13 in a very open Canterbury Stakes betting market to win first-up.
Formerly prepared by David Payne under whose training he won the Group 1 Randwick Guineas – ATC Derby double as a three-year-old last autumn, with Bowman in the saddle, the Sebring stallion hasn’t run since a brave third to Designs On Rome in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin in December.
That was the four-year-old’s first run for Lindsay Park and Bowman was there in Hong Kong for the ride.
Before that Bowman’s most recent start aboard the $2.9 million earner was a close second when a neck off Fawkner in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) last October.
Not a hoop known for swapping mounts, Bowman then is happy to retain his association with Criterion this weekend looking for an upset Canterbury Stakes result.
“I’m not in the habit of getting off horses, so I’m sticking with Criterion,” he said.
“I haven’t had as many rides on him but I have won [an Australian] Derby and [Rosehill] Guineas on him and was placed in the Hong Kong Cup on him also last start.”
Criterion has had five first-up runs to date for a win and two thirds, a decent record according to Bowman who knows the horse will be improving off whatever he does this weekend heading towards the $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) back at the track on April 11 during The Championships.
“He does go well fresh but he is looking for further and is on the Queen Elizabeth [Stakes] path,” Bowman said.
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