Trainer Robbie Griffiths admits that he does not like the chances of The Quarterback when he begins his 2014 Australian Guineas campaign in the Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield tomorrow.
The Quarterback has been allocated the equal top-weight of 58.5kg for the Manfred Stakes, despite the fact that he will be making his debut at Group level, and Griffiths told RSN this morning that he is using the race purely to get the Street Boss gelding ready for the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1.
“I am not overly confident going into tomorrow’s race just because of the way the race sets up with our grand plans,” Griffiths said.
“I think that he is a very talented horse and he has to go to the next level, but he has done everything right last preparation.
“He has only had the one private trial so he isn’t wound up and the goal is the Australian Guineas third-up.”
The chances of The Quarterback in the 2014 Manfred Stakes were not helped when he drew the outside barrier for the Group 3 event and Griffiths does not believe that the race will be run to suit the three-year-old.
“That is probably the big concern for me,” Griffiths said.
“Our guy likes to relax and take his time.
“I think that he is badly-weighted and from barrier eight out of eight he is going to be out the back.
“It looks like it will suit horses up forward that have good sprint records and a head start.”
The Quarterback recorded two impressive victories at Bairnsdale and Sale during his spring campaign and was on track to make his debut at Group level in the Sandown Guineas (1600m) at the end of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, but his preparation was halted by a hoof injury.
Griffiths believes that The Quarterback has recovered completely from the issue and said that he has been happy with the work of the talented gelding since he returned from a stint in the spelling paddock just under ten weeks ago.
“He seems to be fine,” Griffiths said.
“He had a nasty bruise on his hoof and it was just at a nasty time; it buggered our plans to get to a Sandown Guineas.
“We stayed in work longer for no reason because we didn’t end up going to our grand final, but he seems to be as good as gold.
“Since he has come back he has done everything right and has done a lot of work; but only had the one trial.”
The Quarterback ($5.50) is currently on the fourth line of Manfred Stakes betting markets; with Prince Harada ($2.90) a narrow favourite from Bull Point ($4.20) and Fast ‘N’ Rocking ($4.80).