Since Criterion moved on from his stable, David Payne has been looking for his next star and is hoping Over The Air can stamp himself as the heir apparent.
The gelding is aiming to break his maiden in the Gloaming Stakes at Rosehill and his trainer says although it is a big step from his past two seconds on the provincial circuit, the 1800m is the key.
“He has been a bit unlucky and should have won a race by now,” Payne said.
“I think he will love the 1800 metres and if can do well he will head to the Spring Champion Stakes over 2000 and maybe the Victoria Derby.”
Payne put the early polish on Criterion who ran second in the Spring Champion and fourth in the Victoria Derby as a spring three-year-old then came back in the autumn to claim the Group One double of the Rosehill Guineas and Australian Derby.
He was transferred to David Hayes and Tom Dabernig almost a year ago and added the Queen Elizabeth Stakes to his Group One record in April.
“I was very lucky to have him and he was good to me, but now I am looking for the next one,” Payne sais.
“I’m hoping Over The Air will measure up.”
Stablemate Foreign Prince is also taking a step up in grade to the Group Two Shannon Stakes (1500m).
The five-year-old comes into the race off a second to Centre Pivot on August 29 when the winner grabbed him near the line.
Two weeks earlier he finished less than half a length from the winner when fourth behind Beyond Thankful who has since won the Wyong and Newcastle Cups.