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bill
23-08-15, 08:00 PM
A winning double at Moonee Valley has David Hayes optimistic heading into the spring.
Hayes and his training partner Tom Dabernig led in Tawteen and Churchill Dancer on Saturday to claim their first metropolitan winners of the season.
But Hall of Fame trainer Hayes is most looking forward to the return to Australia of weight-for-age performer Criterion.
Hayes has made four trips to the United Kingdom over the past seven weeks to oversee Criterion's efforts at Royal Ascot and York.
"I'm so excited to be home and not having to jump on a plane and fly back across the ditch," Hayes said.
"It's been fun and I've really enjoyed it but I'm really happy to be home full time."
After winning the Queen Elizabeth stakes in Sydney in April, Criterion travelled to Hong Kong where he ran third in the QEII Cup at Sha Tin in April.
Criterion then went to England where he ran fifth in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot before finishing sixth in the Juddmonte International at York on Wednesday.
Hayes said the length of time between races had counted against Criterion in England.
He said the son of Sebring was due back in Melbourne on September 26.
Criterion will undergo quarantine at Werribee in preparation for the Caulfield Stakes before heading to the Lindsay Park stables at Euroa to prepare for the Cox Plate.
"More regular racing keeps him a bit calmer pre-race," Hayes said.
"I think he's a bit above himself at the moment.
"Maybe the Caulfield Stakes will be a risk, but two weeks later he will be spot-on.
"He's a big healthy eater and I think regular racing will really suit him."
Hayes said even though Criterion had been in work for more than 12 months, the five-year-old had enjoyed some time off while in England.
"He's been up a long time but he's had really good breaks between runs," Hayes said.
"I love having my older horses in work for a long time as they tend to race more consistently."
Hayes said Criterion would be entered for the Melbourne Cup and owner Sir Owen Glenn would love to run him in the race.
He said if his form warranted a start he would press on but if not he would be spelled to chase a second Queen Elizabeth Stakes win at Randwick in the autumn.



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