Quinn eyes six-figure return as Agirlsbestfriend targets Tuncurry Country Championships qualifier

There will be a lot of interest in the Marc Quinn-trained Agirlsbestfriend when she takes on Sunday’s Mid North Coast Country Championships qualifier at Tuncurry. Photo: Bradley Photos.

All eyes will be on the Marc Quinn-trained duo of Optimo and Agirlsbestfriend in Sunday’s $150,000 Mid North Coast Country Championships qualifier at Tuncurry.

Optimo is the current $5 second-favourite, and Aaron Bullock takes the ride, while Agirlsbestfriend is well in the market as the $5.50 third-favourite, and she will be ridden by Luke Rolls. 

Quinn is thrilled to be racing at Tuncurry as he believes the track will give both of his horses a genuine chance to win, and in particular Agirlsbestfriend, which is a noted back-marker. 

“It definitely suits a Agirlsbestfriend,” Quinn said.

“It gives her a chance, and it’s a long run of 600m into the first corner, and a turn for a couple hundred metres, and a 400m straight, which means it gives her and Luke every opportunity to find a good position and peel off in the straight and hopefully come over the top of them.”

Optimo is a big horse, and again, Quinn believes the big track will suit his talented galloper despite drawing in the car park. 

“It’s the same sort of deal with Optimo, and it’s a bit disappointing at first when you look and see barrier 19, but when you realise that he is going to come out of 13 or 14, it’s not that bad.

“It probably suits him too, because he is quirky in the barriers, and he will go in late and he won’t be in there for a long time, and we have the best country jockey in terms of wins this year, so I’m sure Aaron will give him every chance at winning.” 

Optimo has had 15 starts for two wins and eight placings, and the five-year-old is fresh off a solid second placing to the Aiden St Vincent-trained Lisztomania in the Country Championships Prelude over the 1206m at Port Macquarie on February 5. 

Agirlsbestfriend is only lightly-raced, with the three-year-old having started six times for two wins, and last time out she finished strongly tp place fourth in a 1500m Highway Handicap behind the Keith Dryden-trained Eastern Glow on January 28.

The filly made headlines when she flashed from last to win her maiden in ‘Chautauqua-like’ fashion at Coffs Harbour in December, and she is Quinn’s pick of the two as they prepare for Sunday’s race.

“I think the filly is my best chance, and purely for the fact that she is up-and-coming, and if she does win on Sunday, I think she can go a lot further than a Country Championships.

“She is the least experienced horse in the field, and she is only getting a couple of kilos off compared to some good open class country horses and hardened Highway (Handicap) horses, but I think she is good enough.”

In the overall Country Championships markets, Agirlsbestfriend is equal sixth favourite at $15, and Optimo is a $51 chance, but Quinn explained that Agirlsbestfriend’s quote was largely due to him and some friends causing a prize plunge. 

“The big reason she is 15/1 is because me and a few mates stripped the 50/1 they had on offer, and I don’t know what the figure is, but if she was to win the final, it would be a six-figure return,” Quinn said. 

It is a loaded Mid North Coast qualifier, which headlines a bumper eight-race-program at Tuncurry, and for fields click here.