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Criterion To Avoid Able Friend

Thursday, 7th May 2015

David Hayes has confirmed that Criterion (Sebring-Mica's Pride, by Bite The Bullet) will line up in the Gr1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes (2000m) at Royal Ascot on 17 June, reports horseracing.com.au. Hayes, who prepares the three-time Gr1 winner with his nephew Tom Dabernig, had considered running the 4YO in the Queen Anne Stakes over a mile on the opening day of the Royal meeting, but said he immediately abandoned those plans when John Moore confirmed that Hong Kong superstar Able Friend would target the race. "I think that he [Able Friend] is the best miler in the world and I don't want to go all the way to Ascot to take him on," Hayes told Sky's Racing HQ. "He is an absolute freak and a lot of people are saying that he is the best horse to race in Hong Kong ever." He added, "We will probably head towards the Prince Of Wales over 2000 metres and I actually think that 2000 metres is his pet distance." The Sir Owen Glenn-owned Criterion arrived at the Newmarket stables of leading UK trainer John Gosden last week, and Hayes said that he had settled in well to his new environment. "He looks a picture," Hayes said. "His blood count hasn't been 100 percent back to normal after travelling, which is quite common, so he is on the easy list having a quiet time. He travelled two different hemispheres in two weeks with two runs, so he was always going to have an easy time." He added, "He is eating and settled into his new surroundings very well...he hasn't started work yet [but] he hasn't been out of work now since last spring and he has amazing residual fitness." The Prince Of Wales's Stakes promises to be one of the highlights of the British flat season with the likes of US Horse of the Year California, Chrome, Al Kazeem, Cirrus Des Aigles, Night Of Thunder, The Grey Gatsby and Red Cadeaux, being joined by exciting up and comers Eagle Top, Western Hymn, Arab Spring, Cougar Mountain (by Fastnet Rock), and Remote, the latter being a half-brother to champion miler Kingman.


Criterion winning the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (image: Steve Hart)
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