Criterion has made a winning return to Australian racing, edging out Happy Trails in the Group One Caulfield Stakes.
Overcoming a slow early tempo, Criterion ($7.50) made a sweeping from the second half of the field and got the better of Happy Trails ($16) at the 100m before winning narrowly.
New Zealand stayer Mongolian Khan ($13) ran an eye-catching Caulfield Cup trial to take the minor placing, just ahead of Kermadec.
Criterion has raced in Hong Kong and Europe this year and he came out of quarantine to beat the best middle-distance weight-for-age competition Melbourne can offer.
“For me it was unfinished business,” winning jockey Michael Walker said.
“I should have ridden him last prep but I got suspended.”
Criterion went on to win the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes with Craig Williams in the saddle before heading overseas.
The five-year-old will have his next start in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.