Pleased with the feel offered up by the classy four-year-old in the lead-up to his racing return, jockey Matthew Allen is confident The Quarterback is more than a chance of success in Saturday’s Red Tempo Handicap (1000m) at Flemington.
Finishing outside the places only a handful of times over his 12 competitive starts so far, The Quarterback has not been seen at the races since running sixth behind the likes of General Groove and Spy Decoder in the Lavazza Short Black (1400m) on Melbourne Cup Day.
Known for his blistering turn of foot over the late stages of sprint events, Allen told AAP he expects the Street Boss gelding to settle towards the tail of the capacity field of 14 on Saturday and is confident he will get the job done, so long as he doesn’t give his rivals too great a distance over the final furlong.
“Robbie (Griffiths) has just freshened him up and he’s going to keep him to sprint races this time around,” Allen said.
“He hasn’t got any gate speed. All he wants to do is relax early which is probably his best trait because he saves all his energy for that one little burst at the end.
“But it’s just a matter of whether he’s giving them too much start over 1000 metres.
“I don’t know if he’s going to be five lengths off them or 10 lengths off them at the 400 (metre mark). It’s just a matter of getting that right.
“I’m sure if he’s within five or six lengths he could pick that up in the last furlong, that’s how quickly he can sprint.”
Claiming a total of four wins and as many minor places over his short racing career so far, The Quarterback was a standout for Griffiths over six autumn starts this year; running third in both the Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m) and Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) first-up, and while disappointing when eleventh in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m), responded well in finishing third in the Smithfield Handicap (1200m) and winning the Bert Bryant Handicap (1200m) most notably on April 19th.
Running second in the Saletc BM78 (1110m) first-up this time and placed second in a minor over 1300m leading into the Lavazza Short Black, The Quarterback is currently featured as outright $5.50 favourite for success in the Red Tempo Handicap with Ladbrokes Australia.