Mr Quickie in Sydney for Doncaster tilt

phillip stokes
Trainer Phillip Stokes is confident Mr Quickie can be a force in the Group One Doncaster Mile.

Trainer Phillip Stokes rarely has a Sydney runner but is hopeful stable star Mr Quickie can cause an upset in the signature Group One Doncaster Mile.

Stokes, who has stables in South Australia and Victoria, has only had one Sydney Group One runner when Hucklebuck was unplaced in the George Ryder Stakes four years ago.

Last year’s Group One Queensland Derby winner, Mr Quickie has been sent north for Saturday’s Doncaster at Randwick, with Stokes to watch the race from Victoria with restrictions in place on interstate movements during the coronavirus pandemic.

“He has arrived up at Warwick Farm,” Stokes said.

“We sent him to Clare Cunningham to look after.

“He had his final gallop at Pakenham on Tuesday and we were happy with that. He’s going well.

“It’s a tough race.”

Mr Quickie was targeted at the $5 million All-Star Mile (1600m) at Caulfield on March 14 in his first start back from a spell but the race did not pan out as hoped, with the four-year-old finishing ninth.

His All-Star Mile jockey Damien Oliver said he would have liked more room in the straight to allow Mr Quickie to build momentum.

Mr Quickie, whose only clockwise start was in the Queensland Derby, has drawn the second outside barrier in a capacity Doncaster field with Sydney-based Glyn Schofield to ride.

“This will obviously be a big test for him but I think he’s going well and he didn’t have much luck in the All-Star Mile,” Stokes said.

“He couldn’t get going.

“Damien said he was flying. He said he had plenty to offer but just couldn’t get his momentum going.

“This will give us a good guide on where we go after this.

“I’m not too concerned about the barrier. I didn’t want him buried away on the rail anyway.

“He’ll go back to the second half and just be running on late.

“Last time in, he raced way below par second-up but it was a very hard run first-up. This time in he didn’t have a hard run at all and he pulled up very well so I’m sure he can run a nice race.

“If it’s good enough to win a Doncaster, I don’t know.”

Mr Quickie was at $34 on Friday with Randwick rated in the soft range.

“He’s OK on a soft track. He’s not great but he’s OK,” Stokes said.

In an open market, star New Zealand mare Melody Belle and three-year-old colt Brandenburg shared $7 favouritism on Friday.

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