The warmer weather and proven formula adopted by the Australian spring-bound Europeans has David Hayes’ and Tom Dabernig’s Cox Plate 2015 hope Criterion thriving during an extended stay in the UK.
An internationally performed son of Sebring, four-year-old Criterion debuted overseas on the back of his Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) success in Sydney during April’s The Championships when sent to Hong Kong later that month.
He ran third at Sha Tin in the Group 1 over 2000m with Aussie hoop Craig Williams in the saddle, Williams retaining the ride for the triple elite level winner’s fifth at Royal Ascot in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes last time out.
While the plan is to bring the stallion home for a Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival bid, a lack of suitable quarantine facilities down under saw connections keep Criterion in Europe with John Gosden at Newmarket during an extended summer campaign.
The well-known Werribee Quarantine Centre doesn’t open its doors until September and so co-trainers Hayes & Dabernig made the call to keep the horse in the UK for an extra run in the Group 1 Juddmonte International at York (2092m) on August 19.
Young Chad Schofield has secured the ride in the Juddmonte International.
Dabernig is confident the stable has made the right call and that following the path of a host of Europeans into spring majors back in Oz will prove successful.
“On reflection, when we thought about it, he gets the benefit of the English summer and then he’s coming into our spring,” Dabernig told Racing.com’s Correct Weight.
“There was a chance of him coming back earlier but he would’ve had to go to Eastern Creek (in NSW) and stop work and we just thought for the horse’s benefit it would be better to keep him up there in the warm.
“The Europeans come into our spring and always seem to run well so I think we’ll stick with a formula that seems to work.”
Back home the likely spring assignment for Criterion will be the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24, for which he currently pays $9 through Ladbrokes.com.au to win.
“He’s at Newmarket and all reports are that he’s really well,” Dabernig said.
“David is actually going to go back over and see him in the next week or so… he’s in great order.
“There’s a chance he might run in mid-August in the Juddmonte International (Stakes) at York and then come back for the Cox Plate.”
All-in Cox Plate betting markets are led by Hong Kong’s Able Friend ($7) and Godolphin’s last start Chipping Norton Stakes – Ranvet Stakes double winner Contributer ($8).
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