In-form sprinter The Quarterback gets a chance to press his claims for a Newmarket Handicap start when he chases a second Listed win at Sandown on Australia Day.
The Robbie Griffiths-trained gelding broke through for his first Listed win in the Kensington Stakes on January 10, his second victory from three starts over the straight 1000m course at Flemington this campaign.
Griffiths has decided to keep the fast-finishing gelding to sprints this time in and Monday’s WJ Adams Stakes (1000m) is the next suitable target for the son of Street Boss.
Griffiths is planning on giving The Quarterback a shot at the $1 million Group One Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 14 if his form warrants it.
“That’s what we want to do but the question is whether he’s good enough, and how his form is leading into it,” Griffiths said.
“He’s got to keep taking the next step and if he continues to do that, well then he’s going to give himself a chance in a race like that.
“But he’s got to do that.”
Should The Quarterback earn a crack at the Newmarket Handicap he would be up against the likes of Terravista, Lankan Rupee and Chautauqua who are scheduled to run in the sprint classic.
Those three sprinters, who filled the trifecta in the Group One Darley Classic in November at Flemington, were confirmed as the top three-ranked sprinters in the world for 2014 in the World’s Best Racehorse rankings released on Monday night in London.
The Quarterback, like 11 of the 14 nominated horses for the WJ Adams Stakes is non the limit weight of 54kg.
Multiple Group One winner Moment Of Change has been given 61.5kg, last year’s winner Shamal Wind has 56kg and Hard Stride, an acceptor in the Australia Stakes on Saturday, has 55kg.
Griffiths said The Quarterback had come through his latest win well.
“I’m really happy with him so he’ll go to the Adams Stakes and we’ll see how we go there,” he said.