Every time Michael Walker sits on Criterion’s back, his confidence in the horse grows.
The laid-back jockey is mindful of the task the Lindsay Park galloper faces to win the Cox Plate on Saturday, but he also believes he has the horse to do it.
“I said to (trainer) David (Hayes) on Sunday morning after I galloped him that the more times I sit on this horse, the more confident I get,” Walker said.
“You can never be too over-confident and cocky, but I’m very confident that that he’s going to acquit himself very well.
“It’s a big, high-pressure, weight-for-age race but he’s flying.
“His preparation has been faultless and we’ve just got to get there and do the job now.”
Criterion returned from an overseas campaign and staked his Cox Plate claims with a win in the Group One Caulfield Stakes on October 10.
The Cox Plate represents a second chance for Walker who was booked to ride Criterion first-up during the Sydney autumn carnival but missed the mount due to suspension.
The horse went on to win the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Walker said it would mean a lot to repay the faith of Criterion’s trainers Hayes and Tom Dabernig, and the horse’s owner Sir Owen Glenn.
“And also, imagine waking up every morning and on the mantelpiece seeing a Cox Plate sitting there,” he said.
“It would near bring a tear to your eye every time.”