David Payne believes a wide barrier cost Criterion any chance at his last start and is even more concerned about the prospect of a capacity field in Saturday’s $1 million Golden Rose.
With the rail in the true position at Rosehill, the 1400m feature can cater for 18 starters, something Payne says could cause mayhem.
Criterion drew 13 of 14 in the Run To The Rose (1200m) on August 31 and finished 11th after a torrid run which the trainer would prefer to forget.
“He got involved in a scrimmage and was 14 wide the whole way,” Payne said.
“It was a debacle and now they want to run 18 in the Golden Rose.
“Barriers are crucial at any time. Even if we get speed in the race, we don’t want be in 18.”
The final field and barrier draw will be declared on Tuesday with Melbourne colts Prince Harada and Fast `N’ Rocking dominating the market.
Criterion is a $26 chance and has largely been left out of calculations, something that doesn’t concern Payne.
“We’ve gone under the radar and that’s good,” he said.
“I don’t mind if he’s the forgotten horse.”
Criterion is the winner of three of his seven starts including the Black Opal-Todman Stakes double.
A late entry, the Tony Vasil-trained Prince Harada is the $3.60 favourite ahead of Fast `N’ Rocking at $4.60 despite being beaten by the David Hayes-trained runner when they met in the McNeil Stakes at Moonee Valley.
Prince Harada was the unlucky runner in a roughly run McNeil with the winner’s jockey Brett Prebble suspended for his part in the interference.
Prebble missed Saturday’s racing but will be back to ride Fast `N’ Rocking in the Golden Rose with Hugh Bowman to ride Prince Harada.
Christian Reith, who was aboard Criterion in the Run To The Rose, retains the mount.
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