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Criterion fits the bill for the Derby
Caryl Williamson
17:09 AEST Sun Oct 27 2013

His breeding suggests he is a sprinter but his trainer's eye says Criterion is a genuine stayer and a worthy Derby contender.

Prepared by David Payne, Criterion is the third favourite for Saturday's Victoria Derby behind Complacent and Savvy Nature. The three filled the placings in the Spring Champion Stakes with Complacent the 1-1/4 length winner over Criterion with Savvy Nature a head third.

The John O'Shea-trained Savvy Nature won Saturday's Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley but the other two go to the Derby off a three-week break since the Randwick Group One.

At 2500 metres, the Victoria Derby is 100m longer than the Australian Derby in the autumn but Payne dismisses any suggestion it will be too far.

"Criterion is in Melbourne and had a bit of a trot around on the sand at Caulfield on Saturday," Payne said.

"Craig Williams will gallop him on Tuesday to get a feel for him.

"He is looking for more ground and the Derby will suit him."

Criterion is by 2008 Golden Slipper winner Sebring who did not race at three while his dam Mica's Pride won three races up to 1250 metres.

The winner of the Black Opal Stakes and Todman Stakes at two, Criterion is raced by New Zealand businessman and philanthropist Sir Owen Glenn, co-owner of the New Zealand Warriors NRL team.

Payne will also have veteran Centennial Park in action at Flemington on Saturday where the eight-year-old will run in the Group Three Stakes (1400m), a race he won three years ago.

Centennial Park, who is just a couple of thousand dollars short of being a millionaire, also won a Listed 1400m race at Flemington in March.

After Saturday, the trainer will switch his attention to Quayside's VRC Oaks mission.

The filly cemented her place with victory over 1900m at Rosehill on Saturday, the equivalent race Fiveandahalfstar won a year ago before going on to win the Victoria Derby.

"She showed she can stay and the Oaks is her race," Payne said.

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