International campaigner Criterion will bow out of racing to stand his first season at stud later this year.
A rising six-year-old who has raced at the highest level over four seasons, Criterion will be retired to Newgate Farm in the NSW Hunter Valley.
But before Criterion joins an emerging stallion roster at Newgate, the weight-for-age star will try to win the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes for the second time.
“He’ll follow the same to the race as he did last year,” co-trainer Tom Dabernig said.
That puts Criterion on course to resume racing in the Group One Canterbury Stakes at Randwick on March 5.
The entire will then contest the Group One George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill before chasing back-to-back Queen Elizabeth Stakes wins at Randwick on April 9.
Criterion shares the second line of Queen Elizabeth betting at $8 with Japanese star Isla Bonita behind Winx who is the clear-cut $2.80 favourite.
Trained by David Payne to win the Black Opal Stakes as a two-year-old as well as the Rosehill Guineas and ATC Australian Derby as a three-year-old, Criterion was transferred to David Hayes and Dabernig’s Lindsay Park operation after the 2014 Mackinnon Stakes.
He created an immediate impression for the training partnership when third in the 2014 Hong Kong Cup.
During an extended overseas campaign last year, Criterion finished third in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin before running in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and the Juddmonte International in England.
Criterion was unplaced in both English starts but he returned to Australia in the same form as when he left, winning the Caulfield Stakes before finishing in the placings in the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.
Newgate’s roster is heavily stacked with young stallions including Foxwedge, Dissident, Deep Field and Wandjina.