Trainer Robbie Griffiths admits The Quarterback’s racing style is a negative heading to Moonee Valley but says the Newmarket Handicap winner could not be in better shape.
The sprinter gave Griffiths his first Group One win in the Newmarket earlier this year and will bid to give him a second in the Manikato Stakes.
The Quarterback showed he was set for a good spring campaign with his first-up win in the Group Two Gilgai Stakes at Flemington on October 2.
Griffiths said The Quarterback would present in perfect order on Friday night but he would prefer it if the 1200m-race was run at Flemington.
“His racing style is vulnerable around Moonee Valley but he will run well,” Griffiths said.
“He’s going to need a bit of luck around that track but Chautauqua’s in the same boat.
“Once the final field and the barrier draw comes out we’ll zone in on what we think, but at this stage of the game the horse is in fantastic condition.”
Griffiths believes the gelding has improved off the back of his first-up victory and says his gallop on the course proper at Cranbourne on Monday was precisely what he wanted to see.
“The track had 20 mils of rain on it overnight and was a heavy eight this morning,” Griffiths said.
“He worked over 1000 metres and ran the last 600 metres in 37.25 seconds.
“It was a nice hit-out. He was nice and strong and pulled up well.
“He’s ticking over lovely.”
Matthew Allen who partnered The Quarterback in his first-up win will again ride the gelding on Friday night.
The Quarterback is an $11 chance in first markets with Chautauqua the even money favourite ahead of Capitalist at $6.