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The Quarterback brilliant on return

Trainer Robbie Griffiths thinks The Quarterback is in line for his best campaign after an impressive first-up victory at Flemington.

The Quarterback won the Group One Newmarket Handicap earlier in the year and returned on Sunday to take out the Group Two Gilgai Stakes.

Ridden by Matthew Allen, The Quarterback ($6.50) scored a three-quarter length win over We’ve Got This ($7.50) with Durendal ($14) a half-length away third.

Griffiths has planned a three race spring campaign for The Quarterback with the gelding to now tackle two Group One races, the Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley and the Darley Classic at Flemington.

“He’ll be a bit vulnerable around the Valley but we think he’ll have his peak run here in the Darley Classic,” Griffiths said.

Griffiths said The Quarterback had trialled well before Sunday’s race and his work surrounding those trials had been brilliant.

“He’s worked as though he’s going better this prep but we’ve wanted to keep a lid on it as a lot of these horses had fitness on their side,” Griffiths said.

“We thought if he could run top three we’d be happy knowing he had improvement to come.”

The Quarterback sat back in fifth position before pouncing on the lead inside the 200m mark.

Griffiths admitted to some concerns when the gelding sprinted clear as he’s not used to seeing The Quarterback so far in front from the finishing line.

“I was hoping he didn’t switch off,” Griffiths said.

“After the Newmarket he shut down quickly when Craig Newitt sat down. He can do that and I thought he might just shut down today with the blinkers on as he might not see anything coming.

“He didn’t and he was fantastic.”

Griffiths said he may also look at the Winterbottom Stakes in Perth next month depending on The Quarterback’s performances in his upcoming Group One races.

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