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History Against Quarterback in Newmarket
The Quarterback (Street Boss-Soorena, by Encosta de Lago) will have to defy history if he is to successfully defend his title in Saturday's $1.25 million Gr1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington. No horse has won the time-honoured sprint first-up from a spell since Polycrates way back in 1917, a statistic his trainer Robbie Griffiths is only too aware of. "Very concerned when I look at the history around trying to win it first-up. No-one has done it in  years," Griffiths told racing.com. "Black Heart Bart couldn't do it last year when we beat him, and he's a five-time Group One winner now, and he had 53.5kg on his back." Griffiths added: "So with 55kg on our back, the challenge looks quite difficult but it's still fantastic to be a part of it so hopefully we can rewrite the history books on Saturday." After the Newmarket, Griffiths said The Quarterback could represent Australia on the world stage in the Gr1 Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) at Meydan racecourse in Dubai on World Cup night (25 March). "That decision will be made within 48 hours of the Newmarket," he said.