Jockey Damian Browne expects to see plenty of improvement out of Group 1 winning mare Quintessential when she returns to highest level of racing in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Quintessential started her 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with an encouraging fifth place finish behind Commanding Jewel in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 7 before producing another fair performance in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield last Saturday.
The Naturalism Stakes was run at a slow pace and Quintessential was one of the only horses to make up any ground in the race, which Brown believes has her ready for a big performance third-up in the Turnbull Stakes this weekend.
“It’s just a pity the race was run at such a farcical pace,” Browne told New Zealand Thoroughbred Marketing.
“Because she was second up and going from 1400 metres to 2000 metres I had to be as conservative as I could in the way I rode her.
“She was racing in fairly tight quarters most of the way and she’s only a little mare.
“I thought she sprinted well on the corner and probably peaked on her run the last little bit so she’ll take a lot of improvement out of that.”
Trainer John Sargent revealed last week that the Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Melbourne Cup (3200m) were the major goals for Quintessential this preparation and Browne said that the Fast ‘n’ Famous mare will have to perform well in the Turnbull Stakes to be competitive in either race but believes she is a knockout chance with a light weight in the Caulfield Cup.
“She handles all track conditions and having that run around Caulfield in the Naturalism will be good experience for her,” Browne said.
Quintessential is currently sitting equal seventeenth in the 2013 Caulfield Cup order of entry; right on the cut-off point for the race with Gai Waterhouse-trained Glencadam Gold, Western Australian galloper Mr Moet, Irish stayer Simenon and Lloyd Williams-owned duo Tanby and Seville.
Chris Waller-trained Hawkspur ($7.00) is the narrow Caulfield Cup favourite from stablemate Royal Descent ($7.50), while Quintessential is currently priced at odds of $41.