Trainer Robbie Griffiths doesn’t expect The Quarterback to trouble the big guns in the Group 1 $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday but a good performance would all go well for the rest of the Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
The Quarterback has to take on the might of the world’s equal top rated sprinter Lankan Rupee and the undefeated speedster Deep Field at weight for age down the Flemington straight and Griffiths believe the task at hand could be beyond the four year old.
Even though The Quarterback has won three times over the Black Caviar Lightning course and distance Griffiths believes the gelding will have a better chance under handicap conditions in the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington in three weeks time.
“The Quarterback takes on the big guns in the Lightning and we are not expecting him to be a winner or anything like that against Deep Field and Lankan Rupee and co,” Griffiths told Racing Ahead.
“But it’s a nice lead into the Newmarket and if he pleases us on Saturday we can keep in preparation for the Newmarket back on the handicap scale.”
The Quarterback has drawn barrier one in the small field of six with regular rider Matthew Allen to take the ride again.
While Lankan Rupee has drawn at the other end of the spectrum and will jump from gate six with Craig Newitt flying in from Singapore to keep his association with the Mick Price trained super sprinter.
Deep Field has been strategically placed by the Hawkes Racing Team and is stepping up to Group 1 company for the first time after winning all of his five race starts including a last start win in the Group 2 $300,000 tab.com.au Stakes (1200m) down the Flemington straight on the first day of the 2014 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
James Winks has picked up the ride on Deep Field after the Hawkes Team’s preferred jockey Dwayne Dunn was hit with a careless riding suspension last Saturday and won’t be allowed to ride until Sunday.
Deep Field has drawn next to Lankan Rupee in barrier five while the speedy Fab Fevola will jump from gate three with Michelle Payne in the saddle.
The Quarterback was is great form with two wins over the Flemington 1000m in the $80,000 Flemington 1840-2015 BenchMark 90 Handicap on January 1 and in the Listed $120,000 Kensington Stakes on January 10.
But the Street Boss gelding disappointed last start when last of six behind Shamal Wind in the Listed $120,000 W.J. Adams Stakes (1000m) at Sandown on January 26.
Black Caviar Lightning market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.30 Deep Field, $2.35 Lankan Rupee, $5.50 Brazen Beau, $21 The Quarterback, $31 Watermans Bay, $67 Fab Fevola.