Champion status awaits Criterion at the Hong Kong Cup

CriterionCHAMPION rider Craig Williams believes Criterion will be regarded as a champion if it wins the Hong Kong Cup next Sunday.

Williams will travel to Hong Kong on Monday to work with the multiple Group 1 winner, which is currently the second favourite at $5 with

“I’ll ride him work on Tuesday morning and be with him all week. Sir Owen Glenn [owner] wanted a jockey there all week and you just wouldn’t say no with a horse like Criterion,” Williams said.

“He is a star. He’s proven that already.

“But if he wins the Hong Kong Cup as I think he will, we will be calling him a champion.”

Criterion is a four-time Group 1 winner in Australia where it won the 2014 Rosehill Guineas and Australian Derby, and it won the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Caulfield Stakes this year.

Its last two career starts have yielded a Cox Plate second behind Winx and a three placing in the Melbourne Cup behind Prince Of Penzance. That big-race experience coupled with some international form will hold it in good stead next Sunday.

“He is an international traveller now. This will be his third trip to Hong Kong and he went to the UK.

“If he adds a Group 1 at one of the world’s most prestigious international race meetings he will deserve the champion tag, with so much more to come,” Williams said.

Co-trainer David Hayes thinks that if Criterion can win the Hong Kong Cup, followed by a repeat effort in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, a Horse of the Year honour could be coming its way.

Hayes gave Criterion a workout at Moonee Valley last Saturday before it flew to Hong Kong earlier this week.

“He’s arrived safe and sound and he’ll have a little workout on Tuesday morning and cruise after that into the race,” Hayes said.

One horse that does have the champion tag beside its name is current favourite Designs On Rome which will attract plenty of local support for punters. It is the $4.50 favourite ahead of Criterion with recent Melbourne Spring Carnival winner Gailo Chop an $11 chance at

Hong Kong Cup market:

Designs On Rome – $4.50
Criterion – $5
Free Eagle – $6
Nuovo Record – $7.50
Beauty Only – $10
Gailo Chop- $11
Staphanos – $12
Military Attack – $13
Blazing Speed – $15
Lucia Valentina – $15
Satono Aladdin – $21
A Shin Hikari – $26
Free Port Lux – $51
Dan Excel – $67

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