Classy local Criterion has returned to the winner’s circle in the best way possible at Randwick this afternoon; mustering a monumental turn of foot to take out the featured Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on Day 2 of The Championships.
Jumping from the gates well, jockey Craig Williams settled the Sebring entire in prime position on the heels of early leaders Aomen and Fiveandahalfstar who set a noticeably quick pace away from the barriers and towards the bend.
Finding a great rhythm rounding onto the final straight, Criterion was offered a clear racing line in the final 400m and exploded away from the pack to hit the line two-and-a-half lengths in the clear of a luckless Red Cadeaux; brave mare Royal Descent boxing on for third.
Craig Williams delivered a typically brilliant ride aboard Criterion for success in the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Stakes and was quick to lay all the praise on the champion four-year-old.
“Its been a really tough Championships, its been fantastic racing and to get the International competitors to come in, Racing Sydney has done a great job,” Williams said after crossing the line.
“For me fortunate to be on a really nice horse, Criterion, I actually rode him as a two-year-old that long ago and I was grateful to get the opportunity.
“David Hayes was that confident, he said ‘Craig, just ride him like a good horse’ and he raced like a good horse.
“He handles the track conditions most importantly and he did the rest, all I did was cuddle and kiss him and he delivered a really nice blow today.”
Co-trainer David Hayes was on hand for Criterion’s third Group 1 victory in the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Stakes and confirmed a return to Hong Kong and trip to Royal Ascot is now well and truly on the cards should he pull up from this afternoon’s run well.
“We’re so excited to have a horse of this ability, it’s a real honour,” Hayes said.
“He hit the front at the 500 I think and normally you’re a sitting shot but I think Craig had to go, the horse just took him.
“He’s a true, elite Group 1 horse and he’s going back to Hong Kong if he pulls up well next week and then hopefully Ascot because he’s done everything a horse can do in Australia.
“One of my dreams is to take an Australian older horse and do the reverse to what they’ve done to us, which is win all our staying races.
“I’d love to take him there and compete in a 2000m race there.”
Having won the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Stakes this afternoon, Criterion has now posted a commendable race record of six wins and a further ten minor place finishes through his 26 career starts.
Unlucky to be blocked for a run until 300m from home, Red Cadeaux has now finished second in four of six Group 1 starts in Australia.
Punters who backed Criterion to win the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au have been paid out on generous $5 odds for success!
2015 Queen Elizabeth Stakes Results
|1||2||CRITERION (NZ)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Craig Williams||–||4||59kg||$5|
|2||4||RED CADEAUX (GB)||Ed Dunlop||Kerrin McEvoy||2.5L||3||59kg||$21|
|3||12||ROYAL DESCENT||Chris Waller||Joao Moreira||3.8L||10||57kg||$9|
|4||7||SPILLWAY (GB)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||4.6L||6||59kg||$17|
|5||11||TOSEN STARDOM (JPN)||Yasutoshi Ikee||Tommy Berry||5.5L||11||58.5kg||$9|
|6||13||LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ)||Kris Lees||Hugh Bowman||5.7L||8||57kg||$10|
|7||3||HAPPY TRAILS||Paul Beshara||Damien Oliver||6.9L||9||59kg||$21|
|8||9||ADELAIDE (IRE)||Chris Waller||Ryan Moore||7.1L||12||58.5kg||$5.50|
|9||8||AOMEN (IRE)||Anthony Cummings||Glen Boss||7.6L||2||59kg||$151|
|10||6||BEATEN UP (GB)||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||9L||1||59kg||$26|
|11||5||FIVEANDAHALFSTAR||Anthony Cummings||Blake Shinn||21.8L||7||59kg||$51|
|12||10||TO THE WORLD (JPN)||Yasutoshi Ikee||Zac Purton||23.1L||5||58.5kg||$3.90F|