A run in Perth’s 2015 Winterbottom Stakes later this month could be on the cards for Robbie Griffiths’ in-form sprinter The Quarterback following his impressive win in the wet at Flemington on VRC Oaks Day.
Thursday saw a couple of massive downpours in Melbourne that had most of the Crown Oaks Day races run on a Heavy track including the $150,000 Listed Dilmah Earl Grey Stakes (1000m) won by flying five-year-old The Quarterback.
Ridden by Matthew Allen who was back on-board after Chris Parnham rode the son of Street Boss to a second the start before in black-type company at Caulfield, The Quarterback handled his first look at a mud track with a three-quarter length victory over Wild Rain who were $7.50 equal favourites along with the 13th placed Nicoscene who failed to let down in the wet.
“I was concerned (he was too far back) but I could see (jockey) Matthew (Allen) had a good hold of him and he knows that he can time the run like that on him. He’s got a lot of belief in the horse and he knows his capabilities,” the winner’s Cranbourne-based trainer Griffiths said.
“My confidence had gone south pre-race but the horse was peaking, he was set for the race, this was the race that we wanted to win.
“He won on a slow track one day at Caulfield but we thought he was a bit lucky that day and with his leg speed and the sectional times that he can run we always thought he’d be a better dry-track horse but it’s nice to be wrong and I’m very happy about it.”
After the victory Griffiths confirmed he and connections were looking at a trip to WA for the start of the 2015-16 Perth Summer Racing Carnival with the $1 million Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) on Railway Stakes Day at Ascot on November 21 a possible target for The Quarterback.
“He’s an exciting horse. He’s got a massive finish and when he unleashes it like he did today it’s exciting to watch,” he said on Thursday.
“We’ve entered him in the Winterbottom, which might be a bit beyond him.
“Otherwise there’s some really nice sprints in January like the Standish and Kensington here at Flemington and he’s got such a great record at Flemington down the straight that you’d be mad not to look at races like that.”
After yesterday’s black-type success The Quarterback boasts three wins and a third form five runs over 1000m at Flemington.
The $150,000 Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) is a Flemington feature on New Year’s Day while the $120,000 Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) runs on Chester Manifold Stakes Day, January 16, over The Quarterback’s pet distance.
Current all-in Winterbottom Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, who are offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on all Flemington races this Saturday for Emirates Stakes Day, are led by Robert Heathcote’s Brisbane veteran Buffering and the Ciaron Maher-trained mare Srikandi at $6.
Both are multiple Group 1 winners taking on the odds-on favourite Chautauqua in the $1 million Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) down the Flemington straight this weekend.
The Quarterback meanwhile can be found further down the futures Winterbottom Stakes odds at $21.
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