Trainer Robbie Griffiths is confident that The Quarterback will take plenty of improvement out of his run in the 2014 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington this weekend and head into the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at the same venue on March 1 in peak condition.
The Quarterback returned to racing with a fast-finishing third behind Bull Point and Worth A Ransom in the Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 1 and Griffiths told Racing Ahead that he has been delighted with the way the Street Boss gelding has come out of the run.
“He has come on really well and has come out of the race in good order,” Griffiths said.
“He has trained well since and galloped well this morning on the inside ground and it was good strong work.
“Whatever happens on Saturday he will naturally improve again as the grand final is two weeks later.
“He goes into this run in good order.”
There would be plenty of big name jockeys that would be keen to pick up the ride on The Quarterback in both the CS Hayes Stakes and the Australian Guineas, but Griffiths confirmed that he will remain loyal to Matthew Allen, who has partnered The Quarterback in his four race starts to date.
“He rides him every day in training, so he knows his little quirks and what he likes and dislikes,” Allen said.
“He has done a good job on him thus far and I think he handled him really well first-up at Caulfield, where the game plan was just to balance up and work home well.”
The Quarterback has recorded two wins from four starts and has already earnt $81,850 in prizemoney for connections, but will face the stiffest competition of his career to date over the next fortnight.
Griffiths believes that The Quarterback has the ability to win at the highest level of racing, but admits that the gelding needs to deliver on his potential on the track.
“He has to prove himself in the big league and he is a horse that looks to have big potential, but like all horses at this stage of their career he has to prove himself,” Griffiths said.
“If he can go forward this preparation and be a live chance in the Guineas and we are all hoping that he can get to that level.
“Seeing is believing and it looks promising at this stage.”
Griffiths is chasing his first win at Group level since he took out the 2007 Ellerston Capital Stakes (1400m) with Count To Zero at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.