The Quarterback returns to defend his crown in the time honoured Newmarket Handicap (1200m). He faces a tough task, down the Flemington straight, tackling an outstanding field of sprinters, which includes Lightning winner Terravista and star on the rise Spieth. Some illustrious names grace the list of past winners, including Takeover Target (2007), Weekend Hussler (2008), Black Caviar (2011) and Hay List (2012).
Jockey: Corey Brown.
Why he can: Returned to form with a last start win in the Group 1 Lighting (1000m). Quality sprinter in the money in all six starts this track and stepping up to 1200m should suit even more.
Why he can’t: Inconsistency is his only negative.
Odds ($3.40 favourite)
Jockey: Hugh Bowman.
Why he can: Notched his second Group 1 placing in a row when he resumed and was beaten a nose by Terravista in the Lightning. He didn’t get a lot of room over the last 150m and had to muscle through a gap. Rising sprint star who goes well second-up and will strip fitter. Meets Terravista 1.5kgs better.
Why he can’t: One of the main contenders and form impossible to fault.
Jockey: Craig Newitt.
Why he can: Won this race last year. His last run before a break he was sixth to Malaguerra in the Darley Classic (1200m). He does race well fresh and five of his nine career wins were on this track.
Why he can’t: Possibly passed his best and didn’t look sharp in recent barrier trial.
Jockey: Damien Oliver
Why she can: Super consistent mare that resumed from a spell with a strong win in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield. Very honest mare and she had solid form before a break when she won here and was fifth to Malaguerra in the Darley Classic.
Why she can’t: Last start Group 1 winner impossible to fault. Moriera has jumped off and rides Extreme Choice.
Jockey: Damian Lane.
Why he can: Handy sprinter and out of a place just once in 18 starts. He won at Group 3 level before a break and finished a close second to Bon Aurum in the Group 1 Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m). Three wins from four first-up appearances.
Why he can’t: Failed in three starts this distance and yet to win at elite level, but positives outweigh negatives.
Jockey: Joao Moreira.
Why he can: Dual Group 1 winning three-year-old. Resumed from a spell with a slashing run in the Oakleigh Plate. He couldn’t stay in touch early and took off on a wide run on the point of the turn. He didn’t threaten Sheidel, but took plenty of ground off the mare and finished better than anything in the race.
Why he can’t: Could get too far back again, but difficult to make a case against him.
Jockey: Anthony Darmanin.
Why he can: Won the Group 2 Linlithgow Stakes this track and distance before a spell. He ran a great race for fifth to Terravista when resuming. Under this handicap scale he drops from 58.5kgs and carries just 53kgs and meets Terravista 4kgs better.
Why he can’t: Little doubt whether he is up to this level, but lightweight helps allay that fear.
Jockey: Patrick Moloney.
Why he can: Finished third in Group 1 Toorak Hcp (1600m) and Cantala Stakes (1600m) before well back in the Mackinnon Stakes (2000m). Resumed with strong win Listed race this track over 1000m.
Why he can’t: He may not be as sharp as he was first-up and will be looking for more ground.
Jockey: Glen Boss.
Why he can: Smart three-year-old, who was third to Flying Artie in the Group 1 Coolmore Stakes this track and distance before a spell. Resumed and turned in a super effort when third to Terravista in the Lightning. He sprinted quickly and may have gone too early and was nabbed late in a blanket finish. Meets some of these much better at the weights.
Why he can’t: Form is impossible to fault, but his three wins have been at 1100m so a slight query on running out the latter stages of 1200m, especially at this level. He only carries 52.5kgs.
Jockey: Ben Allen (a).
Why she can: Scored career-best win last start when won the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m). Raced on the speed and went on to score well, beating I Am A Star and Chautauqua. Nicely weighted and has won here.
Why she can’t: Can’t fault winning form, but she does need to go to another level in this field.
Jockey: Stephen Baster
Why he can: He is sure to be improved on his first-up run behind Terravista in the Lightning (1000m). That trip was too short and he didn’t get into the race. He didn’t fly home, but there was a lot to like about the way he worked to the line. Extra distance will suit and he is a run on horse.
Why he can’t: Hasn’t won since May when he won a Group 3 (1350m) in Brisbane. Has promised plenty, but yet to deliver.
Jockey: Regan Bayliss.
Why he can: Lightly raced six-year-old import. He scored a narrow win in Group 3 Sandown Stakes before a spell. No trial, but is a first-up winner.
Why he can’t: He’s a stayer and will be looking for more ground.
Jockey: Dean Yendall.
Why he can: Hard to make a case for this six-year-old. Finished fourth to He Or She in a Group 3 (1400m) latest outing.
Why he can’t: Not good enough.
Preview from Sportsbet.com.au