Hayes Thrilled with Criterion’s 2014 Hong Kong Cup Condition

December 9th, 2014

Returning to racing in typically competitive form this season, trainer David Hayes has revealed classy runner Criterion has taken particularly well to his time in Hong Kong so far and is excited by his chances of success in Sunday’s Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin Racecourse.

Criterion is reportedly in great form ahead of the 2014 Hong Kong Cup. Photo: Steve Hart

Criterion is reportedly in great form ahead of the 2014 Hong Kong Cup. Photo: Steve Hart

Criterion was arguably the leading three-year-old runner unable to break through for a maiden victory over the 2013 edition of the Spring Racing Carnival; following up an agonizingly-close run of second in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2400m) with a credible fourth in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) on November 2nd.

Having since secured two impressive victories at the highest level over autumn and continued to produce commendable results over the Spring Racing Carnival, Hayes told AAP there is still plenty to learn about his stable’s latest acquisition but has been impressed with the form and class displayed by the Sebring entire since settling in to Hong Kong.

“He was a bit stressed when he arrived here but I’m happy with him now,” Hayes said.

“His coat’s healthy. He’s well hydrated and he looks good.

“Obviously he’s new to me but we know the horse and he’s a very good mover.

“I’ll trust him as you should do with a good horse. He had two solid runs in the space of seven days, in the Cox Plate and the Mackinnon Stakes, so he came here fit.

“I’m quietly confident he’ll acquit himself well. He’s a Derby winner, going right handed at home, and his recent form’s probably better than it looks.

“He didn’t have much luck in the Cox Plate and was only a length and a half off them and the really firm track was against him in the Mackinnon at Flemington.”

Completing several gallops since arriving in Hong Kong early last week, Hayes said Criterion will be set for a strong trial on Tuesday morning as a final serious piece or work leading into the Hong Kong Cup.

“The horse looks well and he seems happy to me,” Hayes added.

“He’s really settled in now and his blood picture’s good. He just stretched his legs this morning but he’ll have a more serious gallop tomorrow morning.

“Later in the week we’ll give him a look at the parade ring. Every little thing can help.”

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