Australia’s superstar galloper and $7.19 million earner Criterion has barrier 13 of 14 to overcome as he looks to break his Sha Tin maiden status in the Hong Kong Cup 2015 this Sunday.
Prepared in Melbourne by David Hayes & Tom Dabernig the five-year-old son of Sebring has had two previous starts at Sha Tin Racecourse where he returns this weekend for the Hong Kong International Race Day.
He is one of two Aussie galloper in the 14-starter field for the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m), a race he was third past the post in when beaten only 1.1 lengths by local star Designs On Rome 12 months ago.
Criterion returned to Sha Tin in April of this year and was third to Blazing Speed in the Group 1 QEII Stakes (2000m) giving him plenty of experience ahead of Sunday’s star-studded showdown.
His lead-up form from the spring in Melbourne is top class including his Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) victory over the distance he sees again on Sunday first-up.
Runner-up in the Cox Plate next time out he was also a brave third going up over 3200m for the iconic Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday of November and only needs to overcome his wide alley this weekend to beat the locals, the booking of Craig Williams aiding his chances.
Criterion pays $6.50 in the latest Hong Kong Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, markets led at $4.40 by Free Eagle who beat Criterion home when they ran first and fifth respectively in Ascot’s Group 1 Prince Of Wales Stakes (2012m) in England in June.
Free Eagle has barrier nine and Pat Smullen in the saddle for the Hong Kong Cup, the Dermot K Weld-trained Irish galloper looking to atone for a last start sixth in the Group 1 Prix De L’arc De Triomphe in France.
Following Free Eagle in the latest Hong Kong Cup betting markets for Sunday at $5.50 is the defending champion Designs On Rome looking to repeat the feat of California Memory who won the race back-to-back in 2011-12.
The John Moore-trained Holy Roman Emperor gelding boasts an outstanding record at the track and has Joao Moreira retaining the ride from barrier six this weekend.
The other two single figure hopes for the win are QEII Stakes winner Blazing Speed ($8) getting the run of the race from gate two and Nuovo Record drawn one wider in gate three for former Melbourne Cup winning hoop Ryan Moore.
Along with Criterion the other Australian-trained raider in this year’s Hong Kong Cup field is the Kris Lees-trained dual Group 1 winning mare Lucia Valentina.
Damien Oliver retains the ride on the Savabeel five-year-old who debuts overseas in this on the back of her Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) win at the same distance at Flemington from Emirates Stakes Day.
She has fared better than Criterion with barrier five and is paying $13 to score an upset on Sunday afternoon in Sha Tin Race 8.
See below for the latest Hong Kong Cup 2015 betting odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au who will reward you with $150 in bonuses when you deposit only $50 and enter the promo code BONUS150!