Trainer John Sargent believes that Quintessential is in the best physical condition of her career heading into the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington this Saturday.
The New Zealand-based trainer revealed that connections of the Fast ‘n’ Famous mare considered sending her to stud after her successful 2013 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, which included a win in the Group 2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m), but Sargent told Racing Ahead that he is delighted they pushed back the retirement date for the five-year-old.
“I think she is stronger now than she has been her whole campaign,” Sargent said.
“We put off going to stud, she was going to All Too Hard, but we put it off until next year.
“I think she is a lot stronger this time in but the quality she is against she will have to be.”
Sargent said that he has been happy with Quintessential’s two runs this preparation, finishing fifth in both the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) and Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m), and is expecting her to continue to improve as she gets more runs under her belt.
“We jumped from 1400m to 2000m but we had to do it to get to where we want to go,” Sargent said.
“The walk and sprint didn’t suit her so hopefully there will be a bit of speed on Saturday and that will suit her.
“She was a shade fresh for the run; it was only her second run in and she hadn’t trialed before her first run.
“She will improve from that and galloped very well in Melbourne this morning.
“She should be a lot fitter but she will have to be as that field is going to be very strong.”
The Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) has always been the major 2013 Spring Racing Carnival goal for Quintessential and Sargent confirmed that she will push on to the Group 1 event as long as she comes through the Turnbull Stakes sound this weekend.
“Damien Browne is coming down to take the ride and all being well he will try to make the weight if she carries on to the Caulfield Cup or Tim Clark is in the mix if he can’t make the weight,” Sargent said.
“If we can get her there in one piece, running home well and not too far away, you know you are going to the Cup.
“It could rain, she loves that, and she jumps down to 52kg – that is the big help when you get back to handicaps.”