Trainer Robbie Griffiths is hopeful that The Quarterback will carry no ill effects from a worrying first-up mishap into his defence of the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.
The Quarterback was poised to make his competitive return in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) on February 18th, but was scratched from the race after becoming fractious in the gates and subsequently being caught upside down beneath the stalls, in what was a nervous few moments for both the horse and racing fraternity as a whole.
Griffiths told RSN that The Quarterback appears to have overcome all issues connected with the incident, but concedes that he does not know what to expect when he lines up in the Newmarket Handicap field on Saturday.
“He seems fine,” Griffiths said.
“He had some soreness across the back and we gave him an easy trial last Monday and didn’t really extend him too much.
“The ground was a bit soft and we didn’t want to aggravate the soreness across his back, so it was a little bit of an inconclusive trial, he ran OK, he ran fifth from the rear of the field.
“He galloped well this morning. Whether all of it has taken its toll, I would probably not know the answer to that until after we see him perform on Saturday. That’s probably just how it is.
“It’s not ideal. The ideal thing would have been to go into the race in-form. That’s what we were hoping to do.
“This time last year he’d come off a good run in the Kensington and a terrific run in the Oakleigh Plate, and we went there confident that he’d give us a super, super effort and he did.
“This year it’s a lot of guessing – Is he going as good, did it affect him mentally and physically?”
Having now been charged with contested the Newmarket Handicap first-up Griffiths acknowledged that the statistics are well and truly against the Street Boss gelding on Saturday.
“The stats are very damning to suggest that you can’t do it (win the Newmarket first-up),” he said.
“Black Heart Bart went close last year but he’s a five-time Group 1 winner now and had 52kgs on his back then and couldn’t do it.
“The odds are really stacked against us, but hopefully we can re-write the history books.”
The Quarterback has posted a commendable race record of nine wins and eight minors through his thirty career starts, since debut in the winter of 2013.
The Quarterback is currently available at early 2017 Newmarket Handicap odds of $26 at Ladbrokes.com.au.