Confident co-trainer David Hayes has ambitious plans to head to England’s Royal Ascot later this year with today’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2015 winner Criterion after the elite four-year-old whipped his rivals in the $4 million Royal Randwick feature.
All the early money over the week for this year’s Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on Day 2 of The Championships in Sydney was on the Godolphin-owned Ranvet Stakes winner Contributer.
Lameness in his off-foreleg however ruled the dominant favourite out late Friday afternoon, odds on the rest of the dozen hopefuls firming.
After sitting as short as $3.50 in the markets however Hayes & Tom Dabernig’s Sebring stallion Criterion eased out to $5 by jump time, a nice price on the eventual winner who blew away a field full of depth.
“So excited to have a horse of this ability, it’s such a honour,” Hayes, who only took over the training of the galloper from David Payne late last year, said after the emphatic victory.
Third in the Hong Kong Cup in his first run for Lindsay Park last December, Criterion came off two good Group 1 places this autumn including a second in the George Ryder on March 21.
He improved leaps and bounds on that run in the Queen Elizabeth though getting a gun run from barrier four with Craig Williams, who celebrated his first win in the weight-for-age feature, in the saddle.
Williams got Criterion into a lovely position third in a race led around by Fiveandahalfstar who got caught very deep and had to push forward to take the front position from race roughie Aomen.
Ed Dunlop’s triple Melbourne Cup runner-up, veteran European raider Red Cadeaux meanwhile held a nice spot fifth ahead of one of the two Japanese runners in the race Tosen Stardom (6th) with Chris Waller’s Doncaster Mile third placed mare from last Monday Royal Descent travelling sweetly on the rails in seventh.
Fiveandahalfstar kept a genuine speed in the Queen Elizabeth allowing Criterion to move up into second without pressure.
He started closing the gap then 600m out quickly going to the front at the 500m, Williams unable to hold him back.
The hoop didn’t have to worry however as Criterion ($5) absolutely flew home having travelled so well before letting down to put two – three lengths on the always-honest nine-year-old Red Cadeaux ($26) who scored yet another big Group place down under after a tough weaving run.
“He hit the front at the 500 (metres) and normally you’re a sitting duck,” Hayes said of the finish.
“But Craig had go up, the horse took him there.”
Finishing off the Queen Elizabeth Stakes trifecta in third was then Waller’s former Australian Oaks winner Royal Descent ($9) who ran an excellent race on the short back-up, the perennial Group 1 placegetter pushing her career earnings out over $2 million.
“I rode him (Criterion) as a two-year-old and I’m grateful to get the opportunity (today),” winning hoop Williams said post-race.
“David Hayes was confident and said to ride him like a good horse, and he raced like a good horse.
“My job sitting on top was nice and comfortable.
“We rode him positively and confidently.
“He did the rest, all I did was cuddle and kiss him and he delivered a really nice blow today.”
Hayes described Criterion as an “elite” Group 1 winner and will now take him back to Hong Kong in a fortnight for a shot at the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin on April 26th.
“He’s a true elite Group 1 horse and he’s going back to Hong Kong if he pulls up well next week and then hopefully to (Royal) Ascot as he’s done everything he can in Australia,” he said.
“It would be really wonderful for the horse to show how good he is overseas.”
In England the most suitable race for Criterion would be the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2012m) in June.
Criterion’s owner/breeder Sir Owen Glenn was also chuffed with the Queen Elizabeth Stakes result and is looking forward to the upcoming international feats of the galloper.
“He’s lived up to his expectations,” he said.
“That win today just showed his class, full marks to the trainers and the jockey.
“Wow, what a race.
“I’ve always believed in him.
“He’s special, very, very special.
“He’s going over to Hong Kong and then he’ll go to Ascot and hopefully he’ll win there.”
The Queen Elizabeth Stakes may have been the richest race of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival but there’s still a number of upcoming Group 1 races to stick around for and enjoy a punt online at Ladbrokes.com.au who had Best Tote or SP + 20% on offer for all Group 1s this The Championships.
2015 Queen Elizabeth Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 9 – 11/04/2015
|1||2||CRITERION (NZ)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Craig Williams||–||4||59kg||$5|
|2||4||RED CADEAUX (GB)||Ed Dunlop||Kerrin McEvoy||2.5L||3||59kg||$21|
|3||12||ROYAL DESCENT||Chris Waller||Joao Moreira||3.8L||10||57kg||$9|
|4||7||SPILLWAY (GB)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||4.6L||6||59kg||$17|
|5||11||TOSEN STARDOM (JPN)||Yasutoshi Ikee||Tommy Berry||5.5L||11||58.5kg||$9|
|6||13||LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ)||Kris Lees||Hugh Bowman||5.7L||8||57kg||$10|
|7||3||HAPPY TRAILS||Paul Beshara||Damien Oliver||6.9L||9||59kg||$21|
|8||9||ADELAIDE (IRE)||Chris Waller||Ryan Moore||7.1L||12||58.5kg||$5.50|
|9||8||AOMEN (IRE)||Anthony Cummings||Glen Boss||7.6L||2||59kg||$151|
|10||6||BEATEN UP (GB)||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||9L||1||59kg||$26|
|11||5||FIVEANDAHALFSTAR||Anthony Cummings||Blake Shinn||21.8L||7||59kg||$51|
|12||10||TO THE WORLD (JPN)||Yasutoshi Ikee||Zac Purton||23.1L||5||58.5kg||$3.90F|
|–||1||CONTRIBUTER (IRE)||John O’Shea||James McDonald||–||0||–||–|