The Quarterback is set to clash again with the world’s highest rated sprinter Chautauqua during a short Melbourne Spring Carnival campaign.
In a close three way finish The Quarterback nosed out the Darren Weir trained Black Heat Bart with Chautauqua another nose away in third spot in the Group 1 $1.25m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington during the 2016 Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
Trainer Robbie Griffiths has selected the Group 1 $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley and the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington during Melbourne Cup week as two of The Quarterback’s Spring Carnival assignments and Team Hawkes has also pencilled in those two races as Spring targets for Chautauqua.
Chautauqua is the winner of five Group 1 races and lived up to his ranking as the best sprinter in the world with a last to first win in the Group 1 HK$10,000,000 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on May 1.
Griffiths said that The Quarterback is very effective down the Flemington straight so he will kick off his Spring campaign in the Group 2 $200,000 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington in early October.
“He loves Flemington so we’re going to keep him at Flemington for two of his three runs,” Griffiths told AAP.
“I think if he can emulate those performances again in the spring and the autumn, he’s going to run well in whatever he runs in.”
While The Quarterback was only able to win once during the Autumn, Griffiths thought his run in the Group 1 $500,000 Mitchelton Wines William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley was one of his best efforts when fifth to Flamberge after missing the start.
“To miss the kick and come around the field that night was unbelievabl.e,” Griffiths said.
The Quarterback’s form was inclined to taper off at the end of his Autumn Campaign and after running ninth to Black Heart Bart in the Group 1 $500,000 Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on May 21 at his sixth run in, Griffiths decided to only give him three or four runs in one preparation in the future.
“So it’s obvious he’s about a four-run horse so if we were going to do that next year, we’d have to look at that and work backwards,” Griffiths said.
The Quarterback is the winner of eight of his twenty-seven starts and has collected just over $1.33 million in prizemoney.