Jockey Damian Browne views Saturday’s Group One Turnbull Stakes as a watershed race for Quintessential.
Browne was satisfied with the mare’s effort to finish fifth to Mr O’Ceirin in the Group Three Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 21.
“It’s just a pity the race was run at such a farcical pace,” he said.
“Because she was second up and going from 1400 metres to 2000 metres I had to be as conservative as I could in the way I rode her.
“She was racing in fairly tight quarters most of the way and she’s only a little mare.
“I thought she sprinted well on the corner and probably peaked on her run the last little bit so she’ll take a lot of improvement out of that.”
Browne acknowledges Quintessential will face stronger competition in the Turnbull (2000m) but says she will need to race well to be a realistic hope in the Group One $2.5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 19.
Quintessential has passed the first ballot clause for the Cup but is locked in a struggle in equal 17th place in the order of entry with five other horses including Glencadam Gold and international raider Simenon.
Browne wages a constant battle with his weight but said he was working on getting to the mare’s Cup weight of 52.5kg.
He believes Quintessential has the tactical speed and the right profile to win a Caulfield Cup.
“She handles all track conditions and having that run around Caulfield in the Naturalism will be good experience for her,” Browne said.
As well as riding Quintessential in the Turnbull, Browne will be reunited with Fire Up Fifi in the Group Two Blazer Stakes (1400m) the same day.
He has an unblemished record in two rides aboard Fire Up Fifi for wins in the Spear Chief Handicap and Centenary Mile at Listed level at Eagle Farm during the winter carnival.
Fire Up Fifi resumed with a 12th to Driefontein in the Sheraco Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on September 14 but trainer Robert Heathcote is dismissing that run as a true reflection of her form because on-pace runners were advantaged.