Before returning down under for the spring including a likely shot at the Cox Plate in October, the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained stallion Criterion will have a final English run in the Juddmonte International 2015 at York where Chad Schofield is tipped to pick up the mount.
Young Schofield was aboard the classy Sebring four-year-old last start on June 17 at Royal Ascot when Criterion finished a credible fifth as a 21/1 shot in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2012m).
That was the horse’s first run in seven weeks and followed his international debut in late April when fellow top Australian hoop Craig Williams rode him into second at Sha Tin’s Group 1 The Audemars Piguet QEII Cup (2000m) at Hong Kong.
Williams partnered Criterion, a four time Group 1 winner back home in Australia, for his three runs leading into the Royal Ascot start including his victory in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick during April’s The Championships.
It is Schofield, who is set to take up a contract in Hong Kong next season, however who is now in the hot seat and likely to continue his association aboard the champion when he has a final run overseas in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes (2092m) at York on August 19.
“If Chad is still there in England he’ll probably ride him, otherwise we’ll work something out later,” co-trainer David Hayes told AAP this week.
The pressure is on as the Juddmonte International is ranked the best horse race in the world by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities and has been won by many turf greats including Australia (2014), Frankel (2012) and Sea The Stars (2009) in recent years.
After the Juddmonte Criterion will return to Australia and gear up for a light spring that is likely to include a shot at the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
As a three-year-old last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival Criterion could only manage to run seventh behind the then Irish-trained Adelaide in the Cox Plate, an effort he’ll be out to improve on in 2015.
Futures Cox Plate odds are already open at Ladbrokes.com.au and it is Hong Kong galloper Able Friend sitting top of the markets at $7.
Criterion occupies the third line of Cox Plate betting at $9 with the John O’Shea-trained Contributer the $8 second elect.
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