Racing: Quintessential regains best form

By Mark Oberhardt

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Jockey Damien Browne was rewarded for some pre-race study when Matamata mare Quintessential scored her first win in nearly a year at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Quintessential was one of the stars of the winter carnival in 2012 but had not won since the Queensland Oaks (2400m).

Browne, who rode Quintessential in her Oaks win, had intended to ride the mare back in the field in Saturday's Chairman's Hcp (2100m).

However, when heavy rain fell, Browne noted that the winners were racing up on the pace. "I decided we would go forward and John [trainer John Sargent] agreed.

"We got a lovely run behind the leader and she hit the lead at the top of the straight and fought on well."

Quintessential ($7) beat Rothera ($16) by a half-length with a length to Sysmo ($6) in third.

The mare, who also ran second in the Queensland Derby behind Brambles last year, will now be set for the Brisbane Cup on June 8.

Sargent is confident Quintessential is back to her best and will be a real chance in the Cup. "She just wasn't herself in the spring. She just didn't fire but we gave her a break and looked to the winter."

Quintessential will have one more run before tackling the Cup but Sargent is yet to decide where.

"There are a couple of suitable races as lead-ups and we will just wait until we see how she pulls up."

Sargent has a team at at Warwick Farm in Sydney and hopes to move his entire stable there later thisyear.

Rothera again showed his love of wet tracks by rattling home for second.

Jockey Ric McMahon said that in another 50m Rothera would have made the race "interesting".

Earlier, stewards were critical of Jonathan Riddell's ride aboard Hastings galloper Survived after the gelding finished second to Hawkspur in the Rough Habit Plate.

Riddell and trainer John Bary were asked by chief steward Wade Birch to explain the tactics for the short-priced favourite who finished second, beaten three lengths, to the Chris Waller-trained Hawkspur ($8).

"I had the expectation, rightly or wrongly, that you would progress to the outside of Hugh Bowman's mount Usainity on the home turn," Birch said. "But, to my surprise, you elected to come to the inside where you were held up.

"Had you made the decision to come outside Bowman's heels earlier I believe you could have tested the winner or at the very least finished much closer."

Birch then asked Riddell if his observation was accurate.

"Yep, fair comment," Riddell replied.

"I said to John after the race I should have come to the outside earlier but he hit a bit of a flat spot at the 600m and I made the decision to come to the inside of Hugh in an effort to save ground."

After deliberating for several minutes, stewards accepted the explanations of Riddell and Bary.

"You did make an error of judgment and the option you took in our view was the wrong one," Birch told Riddell. "But it's not to the extent that it offends the rules of racing."

Bary said Survived would not start again before the Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8 but Waller was noncommittal about Hawkspur taking his place in the race.

"If he gets to the Derby it would be a bonus."AAP

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