While Australia will claim a famous victory if Criterion wins at Royal Ascot, his owner Sir Owen Glenn says the horse is racing for New Zealand.
“I’m a Kiwi, so I’d say he’s a Kiwi horse,” Sir Owen told NZ Racing Desk.
“He’s done all his racing in Australia but he was born and bred in Matamata. I’d love to see him win for New Zealand.”
Criterion runs in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2000m) on Wednesday (Thursday AEST), the second day of the famous carnival.
Originally trained by David Payne to win the Rosehill Guineas and Australian Derby, the four-year-old is now in the care of David Hayes and Tom Dabernig who prepared him to win Sydney’s richest race, the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes in April.
Not all his racing has in fact been in Australia with the horse racing twice in Hong Kong for two Group One thirds.
Bred and raced by Sir Owen, Criterion has won six of his 26 starts and earned more than $6 million.
Sir Owen has had a long-time interest in racing and has been a partner in Victorian Derby winners Second Coming and Monaco Consul, Caulfield Cup and Metropolitan Handicap winner Railings and Australian Derby winner Headturner.
He has yet to have a Royal Ascot runner but shares in the ownership of 21 horses as part of the English racing syndicate Highclere which will have six runners at Royal Ascot.
“I used to live at Sunninghill near Ascot but I’ve never had a runner during Royal Ascot week so I’m really looking forward to this week,” he said.
Future plans for Criterion remain fluid with the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Melbourne Cup among the options.