Just seven stars are accepted to face off in the other Group 1 race at Randwick Guineas Day in Sydney on Saturday with the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Criterion the headline runner.
Due to run as Randwick Race 5 at 2:50pm (AEDT), this year’s $500,000 Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) may be diminutive size-wise but the class of the line-up is top notch.
Sue to start top of the Canterbury Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, Lindsay Park’s Sebring stallion Criterion jumps from barrier five with Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle.
McEvoy won the race two years ago on Appearance (2014) and looks a massive chance to take it out again with five-year-old Criterion whose last run was a luckless ninth in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m).
Prior to that the $7 million earner was on fire winning the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) first-up before his second to Winx in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and third in the ‘race that stops a nation’ – the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Criterion’s versatility is proven by his record that shows he has won over 1100m – 2400m and the two mile placing in the Melbourne Cup was ultra-impressive.
He’s had just the one previous run over Saturday’s distance for a third, but is a gun at the Randwick track (9-2-2-2) and the one to beat in the Canterbury Stakes.
A host of other Group 1 winners are accepted to take on Criterion on the weekend including the Chris Waller-trained Kermadec who gets the rails run from barrier one with Hugh Bowman on the returning galloper.
Teofilo four-year-old Kermadec is best known for his two Group 1 victories last year in the Doncaster Mile and George Main Stakes both over the 1600m at Randwick, while his latest run was a Cox Plate 13th.
He has trialled well recently, has a strong affinity at the track but is yet to salute over anything less than 1400m.
The form horse going into the race fitness-wise is the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Our Boy Malachi in barrier six for jockey Tommy Berry.
Co-trainer John Hawkes won the Canterbury Stakes with Yell (2004) and Paratroopers (2006) before scoring twice more in partnership with his sons with Malcolm (2007) and Mentality (2008).
The stable has the gun record in the weight-for-age feature and seven-year-old Our Boy Malachi also boasts some imposing statistics.
The son of Top Echelon is undefeated at Randwick with two previous wins and is two-from-three over the distance.
His last run was a return from injury in late January at Rosehill where he flew away from the field to win the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) by a tidy three lengths.
Also coming off a first-up win is the John Thompson-trained Fastnet Rock mare First Seal.
Mares have dominated the Canterbury Stakes in recent years winning four of the past five editions including the past two with Appearance (2014) and Cosmic Endeavour (2015).
First Seal is a Group 1 winner at the track defeating subsequent superstar Winx in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) of 2014 and she also comes off a victory in the Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) a fortnight ago.
Gai Waterhouse has prepared more Canterbury Stakes winners than any other trainer with seven previous wins including four in the past five years and is back in 2016 with Ecuador.
The High Chaparral six-year-old is first-up and has a strong record of one win and four seconds from five previous first-up runs to date.
His last run was a mid-field ninth beaten four lengths by Turn Me Loose in Flemington’s Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m), and he has won a recent 1250m Randwick barrier trial leading up to his return.
He has run second three times from four Randwick runs so far including finishing runner-up to Winx last October in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m).
Also first-up in the field is Happy Clapper who won three on the trot last time in, the latest being the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) here in December.
The field is rounded out by the John O’Shea-trained Holler who is looking to be the first three-year-old Canterbury Stakes winner since Waterhouse’s star colt Pierro (2013).
The son of Commands won the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in January before a fifth to Mahuta, who runs in the $750,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington this weekend, in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) in mid-February.
See below for the complete Canterbury Stakes 2016 field, barriers, jockeys and weights then visit the country’s leading online sportsbook Ladbrokes.com.au quoting the code BONUS150 when you first sign-up and deposit $50 to enjoy $150 in bonus bets!
2016 Canterbury Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 5 (2:50pm) – 05/03/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||135x61239x||CRITERION (NZ)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Kerrin McEvoy||5||59kg||115|
|2||431x52140x||KERMADEC (NZ)||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||1||59kg||113|
|3||x111x130x1||OUR BOY MALACHI||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||6||59kg||109|
|4||614x24269x||ECUADOR (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Tim Clark||4||59kg||103|
|5||111x5x111x||HAPPY CLAPPER||Patrick Webster||Brenton Avdulla||2||59kg||100|
|6||12x21226x1||FIRST SEAL||John P Thompson||Blake Shinn||3||57kg||109|
|7||3x38221x15||HOLLER||John O’Shea||James McDonald||7||56kg||105|