Trainer Robbie Griffiths has revealed that talented sprinter The Quarterback could contest the 2015 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes at Flemington on February 21 after he recorded an impressive win in the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
The Quarterback went into the Kensington Stakes as a clear favourite and he showed an explosive turn-of-pace to finish over the top of Sumakaray and Hard Stride to record a maiden win at Stakes level.
Jockey Matthew Allen has developed a successful partnership with The Quarterback since he made his racing debut in June of 2013 and the hoop was thrilled to get back on the Street Boss gelding after he missed his win in the Flemington 1840-2015 Handicap (1000m) due to illness.
“I could have ridden him but I wouldn’t have done anyone any favours and Robbie (Griffiths) repaid me by putting me back on,” Allen said after the Kensington Stakes.
“It helps if you know the horse.”
Griffiths was not on track at Flemington to witness The Quarterback’s Kensington Stakes win as he was at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale on the Gold Coast, but he was thrilled to see him record back-to-back wins for just the second time in his racing career.
The Cranbourne-based trainer is now eyeing a return to Group 1 company for The Quarterback during the 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing and he told TVN yesterday that the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on January 24, the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes and Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 14 are all on the agenda for the four-year-old.
“It would be four weeks to the (Black Caviar) Lightning and if he ran well enough in those two races we’d look at the Newmarket,” Griffiths said about the Australia Stakes.
“I’d like to have a crack at the Newmarket if he can keep taking the next step, but I have to be sensible.
“He may not be ready this year.”
The Quarterback started his racing career with two wins from his first three starts and he was given an opportunity at Group level during the 2014 Melbourne Festival Of Racing and he finished third in both the Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m) and Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1200m), but finished 11th in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m).
Griffiths elected not to run The Quarterback at Group level during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but the gelding has returned to racing as a genuine sprinter and has recorded three wins from his six race starts this prep.