Quarter Back is almost there
How they shaped up at the trials on Tuesday morning
When it comes to quality horseflesh, there's no shortage in trainer Michael Clements' yard and Quarter Back is certainly one of them.
His last five runs going back to October last year have helped swell his bank balance to a point where he was edging towards the $200,000 mark - and, to think, he's had just nine starts.
Let's recap. He lost out by a whisker to Lord Of Cloud over 1,400m in October. He then finished fourth in the Saas Fee Stakes. Yes, the same one won by Bold Thruster.
Another fourth-placing followed before he closed shop for 2018. Coming into the current season, he opened proceedings with a win in a Kranji Stakes C sprint over the 1,200m.
That was in February. A month later, and what was his last start, he again proved too smart, beating yet another Kranji Stakes C field by almost 11/2 lengths over the 1,400m.
Well, Quarter Back was at the trials on Tuesday morning and, although he didn't ring in a victory, his second-place finish behind Leading Cellist was full of merit.
A tad slow to get into stride, Quarter Back could see all of his four rivals when they made that sweeping turn on the far side.
Jockey Daniel Moor, in the hot seat, wasn't the least bit perturbed. He gradually got his mount to make up ground at the 600m mark and, when they angled out for the run home, he had everyone in his crosshairs.
However, out in front, Leading Cellist was going great guns for Troy See. They had opened up an unassailable lead and all that Quarter Back could do was to slot into the spot vacated by Petite Voix, who eventually ran third.
Yes, Quarter Back didn't win his trial but, sure as ever, he was doing his best work at the finish.
It's worth noting that Quarter Back usually puts in a tip-top showing when racing after a trial. Way back in his career, in February last year, he won a trial and, in quick succession, won his next race start.
Then in October, he topped his trial and 12 days later, lost out by a nose to Lord Of Cloud. We again saw him at the trials on Jan 22. He finished second that time, losing out by a squeak to Charger. But he was at the races two weeks later and, with the benefit of that trial under his girth, he ran his rivals ragged, winning that Class 3 event with some authority.
So, don't shy away the next time you see the name Quarter Back in a race. Have something riding on him. He should be good to go.
As for trial winner Leading Cellist, his winning turn couldn't be too far off. For one who has never demonstrated much early speed in his races, his showing at the trials was an eye-opener.
Always well up with the pace, he matched strides with Petite Voix right until the 300m mark when Troy See said "go". It was all the encouragement he needed. In a flash, he was off and running and, at the finish, he had cleared away to put 31/4 lengths between himself and Quarter Back.
Trainer Mohd Yusof has been patient with the six-year-old and, I reckon, it will be sooner rather than later that we see Leading Cellist playing a winning tune.
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