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The Quarterback passes barrier test

The Quarterback has ticked off one of two criteria in a bid to take his place in the Newmarket Stakes.

The Robbie Griffiths-trained sprinter passed his barrier test in a jump-pout at Cranbourne on Monday.

The Quarterback needed to pass the test after flipping over in his stall before the Lightning Stakes on February 18 and was subsequently scratched.

Griffiths said The Quarterback now only needs to gallop strongly next week to take his place in the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington on March 11.

“He was really well relaxed in the barriers,” Griffiths said.

“There was a horse going crazy in barrier one, there was a horse going silly in ten and he was in nine.

“We had the earmuffs on him and that kept him quiet but I don’t think he does a lot wrong.

“He slipped over the other day after the rain that had fallen earlier in the day.”

Griffiths feared The Quarterback may have had anxiety issues but he walked straight into the gates.

He said Monday’s jump-out was about passing the test and nothing else.

“If you were using this morning as an assessment of his Newmarket chances, it wasn’t good enough, but he wasn’t there for that reason,” Griffiths said.

“He’ll have a more solid hit-out next week when his back is stronger again and then we’ll go to the Newmarket and hopefully break the hoodoo of no horse being able to win it first-up.

“Hopefully jumping today, going from zero to top speed, hasn’t aggravated anything.”

Griffiths added missing the Lightning Stakes has all but ruled The Quarterback out of the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan in Dubai on March 25.

The trainer was the underbidder on The Quarterback’s I Am Invincible half-brother who created a Melbourne yearling sale record on Monday when Ciaron Maher paid $1.4 million for the colt.

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