Australian trainer David Hayes has already had one memorable experience at Royal Ascot and is looking to Criterion to provide another in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.
Hayes met The Queen on the first day of the carnival with the trainer to prepare her horse Bold Sniper for the Melbourne spring carnival.
“It was a wonderful day and a pleasure to meet The Queen,” Hayes told Sky Sports Radio.
“I was taken back by how knowledgeable she is about racing.
“I’ve been lucky enough to inherit a horse called Bold Sniper who will be trained for the spring.”
While Australians have added colour to the Royal Ascot meeting in recent years, it is usually with sprinters.
Criterion is bucking the trend on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST) in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2000m) for Hayes and owner Sir Owen Glenn.
“Sir Owen Glenn said if we had the right horse we should go to Royal Ascot,” Hayes said.
“After watching Australian horses do so well in the sprints, I’ve always thought that if I had a horse that was good enough, it would be great to take the English on at their own game with middle-distance horses.
“The Prince of Wales’s Stakes is going to be a very hard task, with a tough international field.
“But all I can say is Criterion is very healthy and I have been very happy with his work.”
Hayes said the unplaced efforts of Shamal Wind in the King’s Stand Stakes and Hong Kong’s Able Friend in the Queen Anne showed how tough it was to win at Royal Ascot but he had faith in Criterion.
“I’m pretty sure he is going to be close,” he said.
Free Eagle, from the stable of dual Melbourne Cup winning trainer Dermot Weld, is the favourite for the race.