2015 Hong Kong Cup Confirmed for Criterion

November 10th, 2015

Criterion more than proved his worth through three strong Spring Carnival starts, and co-trainer David Hayes has revealed it’s all systems go for another trip abroad for the five-year-old to contest the 2015 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin in December.

Criterion will return to Sha Tin for a tilt at the 2015 Hong Kong Cup. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos

Criterion will return to Sha Tin for a tilt at the 2015 Hong Kong Cup. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos

Criterion has twice contested races over 2000m at the Sha Tin course; running an impressive third behind standout locals Designs On Rome and Military Attack in last year’s Hong Kong Cup before returning this year for third in the Group 1 QEII Cup (2000m).

Having returned to Australia for a fourth win at the highest level in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 10th, the Sebring entire progressed to second in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) before running an impressive third in his first look at two miles in last week’s 2015 Melbourne Cup.

Clearly at his best over 2000m, Hayes told AAP Criterion did not feel much effect from his run in the Melbourne Cup and will be galloped around Moonee Valley in the lead-up to the 2015 Hong Kong Cup.

“He unfortunately had a very easy run in the Cup,” Hayes said.

“We’ll potter around with him and give him an exhibition gallop at the Valley.

“I think he’ll work well and we’ll be sending him, just as we did last year.

“He doesn’t surprise me anymore as I know what he can do.

“He has nice breaks between runs and the Melbourne Cup to Hong Kong is six weeks and he thrives on that.”

Hayes also revealed a maiden trip to Japan is on the cards for Criterion to contest the Group 1 Arima Kinen (2500m) a fortnight after the Hong Kong Cup.

“If he ran well in Hong Kong, (owner) Sir Owen Glenn is keen for him to go to Japan, and he did beat the Japanese horses quite easily in the Melbourne Cup,” Hayes added.

Posting seven wins and a further thirteen minors through 32 career starts so far, Criterion undoubtedly registered peak condition for the first time through a standout 2014 Autumn Carnival campaign, highlighted by wins in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m).

Returning to racing this year in career-best form however, Criterion ran third in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) and second in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) before taking out the featured Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on Day 2 of The Championships.

Criterion currently rates as tied $4.20 favourite for success alongside Designs On Rome for success in early 2015 Hong Kong Cup betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.