The Quarterback’s transformation as a sprinter has reaped another reward with the gelding racing to his first stakes victory at Flemington.
Stretched out to a mile when unplaced in the Australian Guineas as a three-year-old, trainer Robbie Griffiths has kept The Quarterback to 1000-metre races up the Flemington straight in his three starts this summer and the four-year-old netted his second-straight win in Saturday’s Kensington Stakes.
Should he continue to rise to the occasion in the next month, he might earn a shot at a feature handicap, possibly the Oakleigh Plate.
“The plan is to let him go through and build up his rating,” stable representative Don Healy said.
“If he earns a start in one of those races then that’s where he’ll head, but his next start will be at Sandown on Australia Day (in the Listed WJ Adams Stakes).”
Matthew Allen missed out on The Quarterback’s win on New Year’s Day because of illness but was thankful connections recalled him to continue his association with the horse he knows so well having ridden him every other start.
The Quarterback, who firmed from $2.90 to $2.45 favourite, settled back in the field with Allen waiting until inside the final 300m to ask him to set out after his rivals.
He arrived in time to defeat Sumakaray ($41) by half a neck with a long neck to Hard Stride ($5) third.
“His turn of foot is that good you’ve got to ride him extra cool, almost like you are not going to get there (in time),” Allen said.
“If you go too early he’s going to run out of carrots the last bit.”
Allen rates The Quarterback as a genuine Group Two or Group Three sprinter but believes he could make his presence felt if aimed at the Group One Goowood later this year.