Could a horse save Australia’s sporting reputation?

With Australian sports fans in the doldrums following their team’s capitulation in The Ashes, the hopes of this proud sporting nation now rest solely at the feet of racehorse Criterion.

The Aussie raider will be bidding to provide a ray of light in an otherwise dismal sporting summer for Australia, when he lines up against the best of Britain and Ireland on Wednesday (3:40pm) at York in the Juddmonte International Stakes – officially rated as the best race in the world.

Whilst the horse is unfancied by the bookies, he remains the Australians’ only remaining hope of claiming glory on British soil this summer following their cricketers’ humiliating defeat at Trent Bridge, the failure of their tennis star Nick Kyrgios to fire at Wimbledon, and Daniel Ricciardo’s retirement in the British Grand Prix.

Criterion, trained by David Hayes in Victoria, Australia could only manage fifth in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, but will be looking to improve on that performance when he teams up with superstar jockey William Buick, who currently sits second in the Stobart Flat Jockeys’ Championship.

He’ll have his work cut out though. Opposing him is the highest rated horse in Europe, Golden Horn, the impressive winner of the world-famous Derby at Epsom and the Coral Eclipse, and Gleneagles, who has both the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and the Irish Guineas to his name this season. Other challengers come in the form of last year’s French Derby winner, The Grey Gatsby, and Royal Ascot star, Time Test.

With those four horses trained in Britain and Ireland, it looks a long shot for Australia’s last remaining hope.

Still, at least they beat us at netball – albeit in Sydney – last week.

The Juddmonte International Stakes is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series. For more information, visit www.BritishChampionsSeries.com