Phillip Stokes is taking a leaf out of the training manual that saw Mr Quickie claim the Group 1 Queensland Derby at his last trip to the Sunshine State, as he prepares to return there for Saturday’s G1 Stradbroke Handicap.
The dual G1 winner hasn’t raced since his runner up effort behind So Si Bon in the VOBIS Gold Mile at Caulfield in mid-April.
“That was the plan,” Stokes said on Tuesday morning.
“We know his 1400-metre stats are really good fresh, so that was the plan to do that.
“He’s obviously raced up there before, winning the (Queensland) Derby, so we’re basically recreating how he did it when he won the Derby as a three-year-old, just doing the same thing, flying up on the Tuesday, just trained him the same, just kept him fresher.”
Mr Quickie beat subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare when he prevailed in the 2019 Queensland Derby, but Stokes has reinvented him as a 1400-1600-metre horse in the past 12 months.
“He looked like he was very unlucky in a few races, even the Caulfield Cup, and just when I brought him back the following prep, he never really came up,” he said.
“I just thought, when you looked at it, his stats said that he was better fresh, his fresh first-up form was unbelievable and the sooner we stepped him up, the dourer he got, so we just changed it around last prep and he won the Toorak and since we’ve been training him like that, he’s been going a lot better.”
Mr Quickie has had two gallops in the past week in readiness for Brisbane’s most famous race.
“He galloped here on Monday morning, then he galloped last Wednesday,” his trainer said.
“We’ve been very happy with his work.”
The son of Shamus Award will carry the topweight of 56.5kg for the Stradbroke Handicap and is at $8 in Sportsbet’s market for the race.
“It’s an open race, I know his best is good enough,” Stokes said.
“James McDonald rides, he’s one of the country’s most in-form, strike-rate riders. All things equal, (if) he travels up there well and settles in, he’s gotta be a chance.”