Trainer David Hayes has revealed his confidence if growing for the chances of talented four-year-old Criterion in Saturday’s featured Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) despite having been drawn amongst a standout field.
A two-time Group 1 winner, Criterion began his racing career under the guidance of David Payne but was transferred to the care of Hayes and co-trainer Tom Dabernig ahead of a positive trip abroad for third in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) in December.
Having quickly found competitive form this time in in placing third in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) and a close second in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) last time out, Hayes told the Herald Sun he is thrilled with the condition of the Sebring entire and is confident the conditions of the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Stakes will play directly into his strengths on Saturday.
“We had a trial and used a blanket on him at the barriers because he has been slowly away,” Hayes said.
“He jumped out and was very impressive. I think he is up to his best trip, the track will be perfect for him and I am starting to get excited about his prospects.”
Hayes and Dabernig are set to launch a two-pronged attack on the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Stakes after also including Australian Cup (2000m) champion Spillway in the final field.
“He has geld his form and he too will be competitive,” Hayes added of the Rail Link entire.
Posting five wins and a further ten minor place finishes through his 25 career starts so far, Criterion undoubtedly found career-best form to date over the 2014 edition of the Autumn Carnival; running fourth in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) and second in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) before taking out each of the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m).
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best 2015 Queen Elizabeth Stakes odds, for which Criterion can be taken at a quote of $7.50 for success and Spillway a particularly generous $21.
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