Group 1 winning sprinter The Quarterback has recovers from a foot injury and is fully fit heading into in the Group 1 $500,000 Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on Saturday.
The Quarterback was sent out as the $3.40 favourite last start when third to Miss Promiscuity in the $250,000 VOBIS Gold Sprint at Caulfield on April 16 but trainer Robbie Griffiths is not sure whether a foot abscess that burst out a few days later had affected his performance.
“He blew out a foot abscess about a week after that run and whether that affected him, I’m not too sure,” Griffiths told AAP.
“He’s over it now, he galloped well today (Tuesday) and seems fine.”
Griffiths is hoping The Quarterback can return to the form that saw him beat Black Heart Bart and the world’s highest rated sprinter Chautauqua when he won the Group 1 $1.25m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington three starts back during the Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
“It’s a question of whether he can return to the type of performance again that saw him run three peak performances in the Oakleigh Plate, the Newmarket and the William Reid,” Griffiths said.
“If he can then he’s a super chance on Saturday.”
At his start prior to the Newmarket Handicap The Quarterback finished sixth, beaten less than two lengths, to Flamberge in the Group 1 $500,000 Clamms Seafood Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield and then two runs later was fifth to Flamberge again in the Group 1 $500,000 Mitchelton Wines William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 24.
The Quarterback is up against Flamberge again with Matthew Allen in the saddle and has drawn the inside barrier in the field that has been reduced to nineteen runners with the early scratching of the David Brideoake trained Griante who pulled up sore after trackwork on Tuesday morning.
Griffiths can’t see The Quarterback gaining any advantage from the inside gate as the five year old’s pattern of racing is to settle well back in the field.
“It’s going to create a few traffic issues,” Griffiths said.
“It’s not the perfect barrier for his style but it doesn’t really matter.
“Wherever we go he’s going to be in the same boat.”
Griffiths has all but ruled a trip to England for The Quarterback to run at Royal Ascot, but an impressive win in The Goodwood could roll the dice that way.
“If he happened to win easily and pulled up well we might talk about it, but if I had to lock it in today I would say he will be off to the paddock,” Griffiths said.
“I don’t think he’ll hold-up long enough to go across to England.”
The Quarterback has drifted out in the betting for The Goodwood at Ladbrokes.com.au and after opening at $11 when the field was released on Tuesday, is now marked at $13.
The Darren Weir trained Black Heart Bart heads the market order at $3.90 ahead of Mick Kent’s up and coming sprinter Supido at $6 and the Robert Smerdon trained Under The Louvre at $7.50.
The Goodwood market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.90 Black Heart Bart, $6 Supido, $7.50 Under The Louvre, $12 Admiral, $13 The Quarterback, $14 Sheidel, $15 Sooboog, $16 Super One, $17 Flamberge, $21 Fast ’N’ Rocking, $26 Churchill Dancer, Big Money, $31 Miss Promiscuity, $34 Nostradamus, Faatinah, $51 Smokin’ Joey, $61 Daytona Grey, $71 Sirbible, $126 Cashed.