Matthew Allen knows The Quarterback possesses a devastating turn of foot and the jockey hopes that comes to the fore over a sprint course at Flemington.
The Robbie Griffiths-trained horse resumes from a let-up in Saturday’s Red Tempo Handicap over 1000m – the shortest distance the four-year-old has raced over.
A winner of four of his 12 starts, The Quarterback hasn’t raced since his sixth in a 1400m race at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day.
“Robbie has just freshened him up and he’s going to keep him to sprint races this time around,” Allen said.
Allen, who has ridden The Quarterback in all his starts, says they have been trying to establish the horse’s best distance range and he believes it is around 1200m.
He says the 1000m is a question mark on Saturday and insists the first half of the race will be crucial to the gelding’s winning chances.
“He hasn’t got any gate speed. All he wants to do is relax early which is probably his best trait because he saves all his energy for that one little burst at the end,” Allen said.
“But it’s just a matter of whether he’s giving them too much start over 1000 metres.
“I don’t know if he’s going to be five lengths off them or 10 lengths off them at the 400 (metre mark). It’s just a matter of getting that right.
“I’m sure if he’s within five or six lengths he could pick that up in the last furlong, that’s how quickly he can sprint.”
The Quarterback is favourite at $6 ahead of The Thief ($6.50), Thermal Current ($7) and Straturbo ($7.50).
Last-start Moonee Valley winner Kaiser Sun, an $8 chance, has topweight of 61kg for his attempt at adding another Flemington straight-track win to his resume.
The gelding won twice at the course and distance last summer before finishing third in the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) in his only other Flemington start.