Trainer Robbie Griffiths is thrilled with the condition of stable star The Quarterback ahead of his run in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) down the famous Flemington straight on Saturday.
The Quarterback has returned to racing in career-best form this year and broke through for a maiden win at the highest level in autumn, when he delivered a field including some of the world’s best sprinters defeat in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m).
Griffiths told Racing Ahead that the Street Boss gelding produces his best for third-up each campaign, and he has remained true to the formula in targeting the Darley Classic 2016.
“We’re delighted with him and he’s always been programmed to give us a peak run, third-up at his favourite track and distance,” Griffiths said.
“He’s always been a horse you could have a target peak run with, and this time last year targeted the Oaks Day 1000m and he saluted. He’s always been good to us like that.
“In the autumn we thought we’d have our best run third-up in the Newmarket, whether we were good enough was the question but we thought he’d give us a peak run and he did.
“I think it’s a crackerjack race, as you’d expect of a $1 million event, and I thought Lankan Rupee was very impressive after a long time off the scene.
“It’s certainly a great race, but I’m really happy with him going into it.”
The Quarterback has drawn into the Darley Classic field in barrier 4 and while conceding he would have preferred a wider gate, Griffiths believes the horse will still be able to perform to a high standard on Saturday.
“The main thing for him is getting a clear passage,” Griffiths said.
“We’ve got that style where we come down the outside and we need that galloping room so his stride’s not impeded, so I would have preferred to draw eight, nine or ten, something like that.
“It is what it is and he’ll probably just poke along where he’s happy and work his way to the outside when he can.”
The Quarterback’s autumn campaign tailed off after winning the Newmarket Handicap, but the horse returned to racing this time for a classy win in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m), before storming home for fourth in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) last time out on October 21st.
The Quarterback is currently available at 2016 Darley Classic odds of $6.50 with Ladbrokes Australia.