HONG Kong Cup placegetter Criterion will be aimed at the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes after producing what many believe was a career best performance yesterday at Sha Tin.

David Hayes told TVN the signature race of The Championship was the autumn goal for Criterion after he finished one length third behind local champions Designs On Rome and Military Attack.

Hayes also flagged his intention to run the dual group 1 winner in the $1 million George Ryder Stakes (1500 m) on March 21 on route to the Queen Elizabeth (2000 m) at randwick on April 11.

“We’ll race him sparingly and treat him like the international horse he proved himself to be,” Hayes told TVN.

“He gave a great kick like the good horse he is. I thought at the top of the straight he may be a winning chance.

“Maybe if he drew a barrier and Hughie (Bowman) got cover he may have won the race.

“It was a really classy, good effort. He had a major problem going into the race with the allergy, so with a bit of a break … I don’t know how many sleeps to the George Ryder, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Bowman told TVN Criterion “jumped and put himself” outside the leader, a position he’s not accustomed, travelled well and “gave one hell of a kick”.

“He was beaten by Hong Kong’s two best horses,” Bowman said. (Racing Network)