Newmarket Handicap winner The Quarterback is slated for a three-run spring preparation in Melbourne, with races at his favourite track the focus.
The Quarterback gave trainer Robbie Griffiths his first Group One win when he defeated Black Heart Bart and Chautauqua in The Newmarket (1200m) at Flemington in March.
The sprinter’s campaign ended with a ninth in The Goodwood in Adelaide last month and he will be back with Griffiths in little more than a week.
Griffiths plans to run The Quarterback first-up in the Group Two Gilgai at Flemington on October 2 before the Group One Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley and the Group One Darley Classic at Flemington.
“He loves Flemington so we’re going to keep him at Flemington for two of his three runs,” Griffiths said.
While The Quarterback’s latest campaign didn’t end on the note connections had hoped for, Griffiths takes confidence from the sprinter’s fast-finishing Oakleigh Plate sixth, his Newmarket win, and his eye-catching William Reid Stakes run when he stormed home for fifth.
“I think his three runs in a row were outstanding,” Griffiths said, adding he thought the William Reid was his best after he missed the start.
“I know Chautauqua wasn’t in it but what he did at weight-for-age, to miss the kick and come around the field that night was unbelievable.
“I think if he can emulate those performances again in the spring and the autumn, he’s going to run well in whatever he runs in.”
While Griffiths and the horse’s owners shelved plans to take the Quarterback to Royal Ascot for the King’s Stand Stakes, the trainer said it would be up for discussion again next year.
“He normally has about four runs in his prep and then he starts to taper off,” Griffiths said.
“We were hoping as he got older and matured that he could extend his preparation, but the alarm bells went off a little bit when he ran third in the VOBIS Gold Sprint at his fifth run.
“But his sectionals were good so we pushed forward and he just lost that bit of zing in The Goodwood.
“So it’s obvious he’s about a four-run horse so if we were going to do that next year, we’d have to look at that and work backwards.”