Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Four time Group 1 winning galloper Criterion returns to racing this Saturday as the headline nominee for the Canterbury Stakes 2016 on Randwick Guineas Day in Sydney.
The five-year-old son of Sebring is one of just eight early entries taken by Racing NSW for this season’s $500,000 Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m), nominations extended until 11am (AEDT) on Tuesday.
The David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Criterion has had nine previous runs at Randwick Racecourse for two wins, two seconds and two thirds.
His last was back in April last year when winning the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) over the ill-fated triple Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux.
He subsequently won the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) last October and was runner-up in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) behind superstar mare Winx before a third in the iconic Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) over the two miles.
Criterion was last seen running a luckless ninth in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) from the outside alley (13 of 13) back in December, the $7.19 million earner after just his second first-up win from eight attempts in the Canterbury Stakes.
Gai Waterhouse has dominated the Canterbury Stakes results in recent history training an impressive seven winners dating back to 1996 including four in the past five years.
Her latest Canterbury Stakes winner was just 12 months ago with Cosmic Endeavour (2015) getting the job done for the punters.
This year Waterhouse has just the one entry with the returning High Chaparral six-year-old Ecuador.
The gelding has run second three times from four Randwick runs to date including his second to Winx in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) last October as a $21 chance.
He was unplaced in two later spring runs in Melbourne, but boasts a strong first-up record of a win and four seconds from five resuming runs to date and will be better back in Sydney after a winning 1250m barrier trial at Randwick on February 19.
Also returning to the track in the Canterbury Stakes is the Chris Waller-trained Kermadec, the four-year-old Teofilo stallion looking to hand his trainer with a maiden win in the weight-for-age showdown.
Kermadec is best known for his Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) win last Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and September’s Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) also run over the Randwick mile.
His latest start produced a distant 13th when beating home just one other runner in the Cox Plate, a run he is out to atone for first-up back at his pet track.
Boasting the fitness edge over his fellow Canterbury Stakes nominees is the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Our Boy Malachi.
The stable won back-to-back editions of the race with Malcolm (2007) and Mentality (2008), while John Hawkes also took out the 2006 edition with Paratroopers and prepared 2004 Canterbury Stakes winner Yell.
The ultra-consistent Our Boy Malachi is a seven-year-old son of Top Echelon who has finished worse than third just twice in his 22 start career.
He is two-from-two at Randwick including his Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) win her last April and is two-from-three over Saturday’s distance.
Our Boy Malachi returned from a lengthy let-up in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill in late January and was back to his brilliant best winning by three lengths as the odds-on favourite.
Check out the current Canterbury Stakes 2016 nominations below, the final acceptances for which close on Wednesday.
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2016 Canterbury Stakes Nominations
Randwick Racecourse – 05/03/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|2||135x61239x||CRITERION (NZ)||H||5||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||115|
|3||614x24269x||ECUADOR (NZ)||G||6||Gai Waterhouse||103|
|4||12x21226x1||FIRST SEAL||M||4||John P Thompson||109|
|5||111x5x111x||HAPPY CLAPPER||G||5||Patrick Webster||100|
|7||431x52140x||KERMADEC (NZ)||H||4||Chris Waller||113|
|8||x111x130x1||OUR BOY MALACHI||G||7||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||109|
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