Quackerjack ready to rebound at Randwick
A rise to a more suitable distance has Quackerjack poised to rediscover his best form when he tackles the Listed Carrington Stakes at Randwick.
The baldy-faced gelding turned in a creditable first-up performance when finishing just over 2-1/2 lengths behind subsequent Magic Millions Cup winner Eleven Eleven in the Christmas Classic on January 1.
It was the first time the five-year-old had contested a 1200 metre race since his juvenile season and trainer Mark Newnham admitted the horse was out of his comfort zone.
“The other day he was just in a race that was too quick for him,” Newnham said.
“He hadn’t run in a 1200 metre race since the Magic Millions two-year-old race three years ago.
“He was pretty much at his top the whole race and that makes it hard to finish off but he got beaten 2.6 lengths and the form out of the race is good through Eleven Eleven and Discharged. It was a good blow-out for him.”
Quackerjack is among 10 acceptors for Saturday’s 1400 metre feature, which also includes defending titleholder Cradle Mountain and impressive first-up winner Order Again.
Regular rider Josh Parr will again be aboard Quackerjack, who is chasing his first win since taking out the Group Two Liverpool City Cup in February last year.
Five of the gelding’s eight successes have been on the Randwick course proper and Newnham believes the Carrington Stakes is the right race at the right time.
“It’s a good race to give him a chance to get back to some form,” he said.
“He’s a length or two off those Group One horses so these sort of races are good for him.”
Newnham will also saddle up Scarzel, who makes his debut in the Paul Hoffman Handicap (1000m).
A $220,000 yearling purchase for syndicators Darby Racing, Scarzel is by Snitzel out of 2016 Sweet Embrace Stakes winner Scarlet Rain and will sport blinkers on Saturday.
“He will run well but this time of year, the two-year-old races are very strong because there are generally horses there that are aiming towards the good races,” Newnham said.
“He is having his first start, he has trialled well with blinkers on and he’s fit and ready to go around.”
Filly Ashema has opened favourite for the juvenile race after finishing second to boom youngster Acrobat at her only start.