Criterion has returned to Australia in slick form and completed an ideal lead-in to the 2015 Cox Plate this afternoon; producing a huge turn of foot to take out the Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m).
Jumping from the gates well, jockey Michael Walker elected to settle Criterion off the pace of early leaders Entirely Platinum, Fawkner and Pornichet, who flew the barriers and jostled for the lead for the first 400m.
Settling into a great rhythm and receiving an ideal run in transit on the rails, Walker peeled the Sebring entire off the fence rounding onto the final straight, and while wide and faced with plenty to do, mustered a monumental turn of foot to hit the lead and maintain to the line ahead of Happy Trails and Mongolian Khan.
Walker delivered a gem of a ride on Criterion for success in the 2015 Caulfield Stakes and was thrilled to repay David Hayes and Tom Dabernig for offering him the mount.
“Obviously through the support of David and Tom and their staff, it’s a huge thrill,” Walker said after crossing the line.
“For me it was unfinished business because I should have rode him last prep and I got suspended.
“We had two plans – the first plan was to go forward outside the leader and the second was to ride off tempo. I chose plan b straight away because I thought it was the better plan.
“Honestly, 600m out he pulled me straight into the race and he went a little bit off the bit cornering but as soon as he straightened he’s a tough horse and a true weight-for-age star.”
David Hayes was on hand for Criterion’s impressive performance in the 2015 Caulfield Stakes and revealed the Melbourne Cup will likely figure for the stallion prospect following the Cox Plate.
“There’s really nice improvement in him,” Hayes said.
“Now all we have to do is mark time into the Cox Plate; he’s hit form just at the right time.
“He’s done a big job there, off a slow tempo he gave them a start, travelled wide and then a beating, so it was a good effort.
“I think he’s been racing at the Olympics and he’s back in the National Championships now.
“Sir Owen Glen (owner) is really, really keen to go to the Melbourne Cup if I’m happy with the horse, and so am I.”
Punters who backed Criterion to win the 2015 Caulfield Stakes with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au have been paid out on generous $8 odds for success!
2015 Caulfield Stakes Results
|1||1||CRITERION (NZ)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||–||7||59kg||$7.50|
|2||3||HAPPY TRAILS||Paul Beshara||Mark Zahra||0.5L||6||59kg||$16|
|3||8||MONGOLIAN KHAN||Murray Baker||Opie Bosson||0.6L||2||58kg||$13|
|4||7||KERMADEC (NZ)||Chris Waller||Glen Boss||1.35L||8||58kg||$3.50F|
|5||4||CONTRIBUTER (IRE)||John O’Shea||Blake Shinn||5.35L||1||59kg||$9.50|
|6||2||FAWKNER||Robert Hickmott||Craig Williams||6.1L||4||59kg||$4.20|
|7||6||ENTIRELY PLATINUM (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||7.1L||5||59kg||$26|
|8||5||PORNICHET (FR)||Gai Waterhouse||Kerrin McEvoy||8.6L||3||59kg||$6.50|