A win in the Group 1 $500,000 Mitchelton Wines William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Thursday night by The Quarterback will go a long way of securing him a trip to Royal Ascot.
Trainer Robbie Griffiths has selected the Group 1 £400,000 The King’s Stand Stakes (5 furlongs) at Royal Ascot on June 14 as the likely target for The Quarterback and has already started to put in place his travel arrangement.
“I’d love to go to Ascot and the horses that have succeeded there have been proven at weight-for-age,” Griffiths told AAP.
“It’s all up to the horse now.”
“What will make the decision is the horse’s form, whether the owners want to spend the money and if he shows he’s up to weight-for-age.
“He ticks the straight box, so that’s why it’s appealing.”
The Quarterback showed his liking for the Flemington straight, recording his fourth win there in scoring a narrow victory over Black Heart Bart and Chautauqua in the Group 1 $1.25m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 12.
Griffiths is now keen for the five year old to get a victory at weight for age and a win in the William Reid Stakes would tick another box in his quest to head to England.
A good performance at Moonee Valley will see The Quarterback head to Adelaide for the Group 1 $500,000 Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on May 21.
“If he can hold his form and go to the Goodwood, run well, then we know for sure that we’re on the right wavelength going to Ascot,” Griffiths said.
“If we don’t measure up, we just don’t go.”
Winning Newmarket Handicap jockey Craig Newitt will again be on The Quarterback who has drawn in the middle of the twelve horse William Reid Stakes field at barrier six.
The Quarterback has only been to Moonee Valley on one other occasion and was always out the back when four lengths seventh to Chautauqua in the 2015 Group 2 $200,000 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (1000m) last September.
The William Reid Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au has The Quarterback at the healthy odds of $15 with the Darren Weir trained Lucky Hussler at the top of the betting at $3.40.
Griffiths will also saddle up $61 outsider It Is Written in the William Reid Stakes.
William Reid Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.40 Lucky Hussler, $4.20 Holler, $5.50 Japonisme, $8 Kinglike, $12 Flamberge, $15 The Quarterback, Churchill Dancer, $21 Fast ‘N’ Rocking, $26 Gregers, $26 Headwater, $41 Scarlet Billows, $61 It Is Written.