Criterion has been nominated for arguably the world’s most prestigious race, the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (2400m) in France in October.

Trainer David Hayes, who prepares the four-year-old in partnership with his nephew Tom Dabernig, said the horse would need to establish himself as world-class in England before they seriously considered targeting the Arc, reports

“It’s not a real target at the moment but if he was to win at Royal Ascot and the owner wanted to do that then it keeps our option open,” Hayes said.

“We would only go to the race if he was in brilliant form and was one of the favourites which would mean that he is performing well in Europe.

“It’s always wet the Arc which would be in his favour and it would just be such a thrill, it would be on every owner and trainer’s bucket list to have a horse capable of competing in the Arc but it’s only a long shot.”

Hayes said at this stage the more likely option was for Criterion to contest the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2000m) at Royal Ascot in June before being aimed towards the Cox Plate (2040m).

“The preferred option at the moment is for one run in England, maybe two, then give him a spell in the UK and come back through quarantine at Werribee and set him for the Cox Plate,” he said.

A dominant winner of the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick last month, Criterion then finished a gallant third in the QEII Cup (2000m) in Hong Kong.

Despite the son of Sebring suffering a minor setback on arrival in the UK, Hayes said the horse was on track for the Prince Of Wales’s on June 17.

“He had a bit of a temperature on arrival but he’s back to normal now and he’s just doing light duties for another week and then I’ll step him up,” Hayes said.

“After two hard runs in two weeks and then the trip to England he needed an easy week but he’s on track.”