Australia’s placegetter at last month’s Hong Kong International meeting is in good health in quarantine ahead of his autumn campaign.
Criterion, who finished third behind Designs On Rome in the Hong Kong Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin on December 14, is undergoing quarantine at the Werribee International Horse Centre.
When he finishes his two week quarantine stint, Criterion will head to Lindsay Park at Euroa, the country stable of co-trainers David Hayes and Tom Dabernig.
Dabernig said Criterion, the winner of last year’s Rosehill Guineas and Australian Derby when prepared by David Payne, arrived back in Australia in excellent order.
His trip to Hong Kong was placed in jeopardy following a suspected colic attack the day before departure but it turned out to be an allergic reaction to a tick shampoo.
Dabernig said Criterion’s skin condition had cleared and while quarantine was not exactly horse heaven he said the four-year-old was doing well.
“He’s a real beauty,” Dabernig said.
“He holds his condition. A lot of horses travelling don’t but he does well in that situation.
“He’ll have a couple of weeks there and then head back to the farm and we’ll kick him along to get him ready for the autumn.”
Criterion will be set for The Championships in Sydney with his main target the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 11.
The race is also the target for Cox Plate winner Adelaide and Japanese gallopers To The World and Tosen Stardom.
Dabernig said Criterion should not take too long to reach full fitness when he gets back to Lindsay Park.
“He can do light exercise at Werribee before he goes up to the farm,” Dabernig said.
“He’s got great residual fitness so we’re not overly concerned.”