The Quarterback upstages Chautauqua to deliver trainer Robbie Griffiths a maiden Group 1 victory in the 2016 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington this afternoon.
The Quarterback flew under the radar ahead of the Newmarket Handicap, but he showed the outstanding turn-of-foot he possess when he was asked for an extra effort by jockey Craig Newitt and he ran past Chautauqua on the outside rail to record an outstanding victory.
The Newmarket Handicap was the third victory for Newitt in the Group 1 event after previously winning on Miss Andretti in 2007 and Shamexpress in 2013, but he was delighted to be able to secure a maiden Group 1 victory for Griffiths.
“That was outstanding,” Newitt said.
“That is my third, but if there was a bloke that deserved a Group 1 it was Robbie Griffiths and I couldn’t be happier for him.
“He has always been a very talented horse and we just had to sit back.
“We had one plan – sit on the back of the grey horse and let him do the work for us, but he was outstanding.”
Griffiths has been one of the leading trainers in Melbourne for the better part of a decade, but he had been narrowly denied in Group 1 races on a number of occasions and he was clearly emotional to have finally scored a race win on the biggest stage.
The leading trainer admitted that he was worried he was going to finish his career as one of the best trainers never to record a Group 1 victory and he was quick to pay credit to his entire team that have helped him reach this point.
“It is incredible,” Griffiths said.
“To win a Group 1 anywhere would have been an absolute dream come true, but to do it at headquarters in the best sprint race in Australia is just amazing.
“Of all horses to do it for the stable it was just sensational it was him.
“He has an unbelievable turn-of-speed and we have always kept him to 1000 for a multitude of reasons, but we finally were able to get him out to 1200,
“We were just so happy with him coming into this run.
“I said to Craig Newitt before the race that he is really peaking and ready to go.
“It is unbelievable.”
Black Heart Bart returned to races with an outstanding second in the Newmarket Handicap, while Chautauqua was outsprinted by The Quarterback in the final stages of the race and could finish no better than third.