Trainer Robbie Griffiths is thrilled with The Quarterback leading into Sunday’s Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington, but believes his stable star will still take plenty of improvement from whatever he does in the race.
The Quarterback has shown ability in spades since he debuted in the winter of 2013 but has undoubtedly returned to racing in career-best form this year; highlighted by a dominant win at the highest level in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 12th.
Griffiths told Racing Ahead that the Street Boss gelding has taken to his work and trials particularly well in the lead-up to the Gilgai Stakes and he is confident that the horse will lay a good account for himself first-up.
“He’s not a horse that has trialled up to his race day talent, but to see him trial as good as he did in both of his trials this preparation leading into Sunday, it’s been quite exciting for us,” Griffiths said.
“Possibly he’s even matured a little bit and he might be even going even better than the autumn. He’s certainly going every bit as good, so we’ve very happy with him leading into Sunday.”
Griffiths has set The Quarterback for a third-up appearance in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) this time and is confident the Gilgai Stakes will deliver the horse peak-fitness, regardless of the result.
“I’m hopeful, keeping in mind we’ve got two peak runs ahead of us in the Manikato but more particularly third-up in the Darley Classic at his favourite track Flemington,” he said.
“It’s hard to beat a peak this early but I know that whatever happens on Sunday, he will improve. Although he’s had a beautiful prep and is forward enough to run well and possibly win, whatever happens he will improve again.
“If he does win, I’m really delighted because I think there’s more room to improve after the run.”
The Quarterback posted a number of typically-smart results throughout his 2015 campaign and capped the year with a comfortable win in the Listed Dilmah Earl Grey Stakes (1000m) at Flemington.
Resuming this year for third in the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m), The Quarterback finished two lengths off the pace when sixth in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) before his astonishing win in the Newmarket Handicap, in which he beat home the likes of Black Heart Bart and Chautauqua.
Progressing to fifth in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) and third in the Vobis Gold Sprint (1200m), The Quarterback has not been seen at the races since failing to fire in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) on May 21st.