The Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai remains on the table for Group One-winner The Quarterback but he still has plenty of options at home.
The Quarterback is scheduled to resume Group One Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 18 before a defence of the Group One Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at the same track on March 11.
The Al Quoz Sprint is in late March but trainer Robbie Griffiths says the TJ Smith Stakes in Sydney and the Goodwood in Adelaide are also attractive Group One targets with the latter’s prize money boosted to $1 million.
“We’re not sure. It’s the perfect race for him in Dubai,” Griffiths said.
“I think if we’re brave enough to travel overseas, I would imagine Dubai is the right type of race because it’s in a straight line, it will be a dry track and be similar weather pattern to Melbourne.
“And it’s two weeks after the Newmarket.
“So it’s the right race for him if we’re game enough to travel. Royal Ascot gets a bit wet and he’s not as good on the wet. And it’s further down the track.
“So it will boil down to what we think once we get through the Newmarket. His form has to warrant it, of course. He has to run well in the Lightning and the Newmarket to even contemplate it.
“But he is nominated for Dubai.”
Griffiths said The Quarterback was progressing well and would have a soft jump-out at the end of this month.
The Quarterback beat Black Heart Bart and Chautauqua to win The Newmarket last year, giving Griffiths the first Group One of his training career.
Griffiths is expecting a strong renewal of both the Lightning and Newmarket and believes The Quarterback will be best suited in The Newmarket.
“He’s one of many chances in the Lightning but realistically because he’s only won one race since the Newmarket I’d like to think he’s reasonably handicapped to have a second crack,” he said.
“And I think that’s his best option in the autumn.”