Quinn preparing for Narrabri Cup expedition

Marc Quinn will start Crowie’s Shout in Saturday’s Narrabri Cup. Image: Bradley Photos.

Marc Quinn is the first person to admit he’d prefer to sit on the lounge on Saturday when the $5 million Golden Slipper is run and won at Rosehill Gardens. 

Still, the lure of the $16,000 Narrabri Cup (1200m) looks to be enough for the Port Macquarie trainer to make the 11-hour round trip into the state’s North West on Saturday. 

Racing four-time winner Crowie’s shout, Quinn is hoping the trip will be worthwhile.

“We’re going to accept with him, and then I’ll chat with the Kelly family that owns him,” Quinn said to NSW Country and Picnic Racing

“If it were any other day than Slipper Day, I’d lock it in, but I do like Slipper Day and sitting back and watching five Group 1s.”

With four-kilogram claimer Shae Wilkes booked for the ride, Quinn said the good prize money was enough for him to make the long trip. 

“It’s enticing with $8,000 going to the winner,” he said.

“Plus, the race looks to suit; there’s not a lot of early speed, and he should lob in front on paper. 

“I’ve never had a runner on a dirt track, and I’d like to think you’d rather be the leader than swallow dust, so it should suit him.

“Plus, if he doesn’t go there, there’s not much for him, and we would head to a Gosford (Benchmark) 64.”

Drawn in the middle with gate four, Quinn said it would be a matter of his Xtravagant gelding playing catch me if you can.  

“He’s got such good gate speed, and the field is full of middle and backmarkers, so he should be able to spring out and go straight to the fence,” he said. 

While Quinn is focusing on Narrabri Cup success, in the back of his mind is the $1 million Country Championships final at Royal Randwick on April 6.

Quinn trained the quinella of the $150,000 Mid-North Coast qualifier at Tuncurry on February 24, with Auzstar (Matthew McGuren) defeating Agirlsbestfriend (Jenny Duggan) by five lengths in heavy ten conditions. 

The pair had a week off after the tough run and have since trialled at Muswellbrook on Friday, with Auzstar finishing third and Agirlsbestfriend running six to Perennial in a 1000m Open Trial. 

“They are both going really good,” Quinn said.

“They both had a week off, as six weeks is a long time between drinks, and we’ve brought them back and eased them back into it.

“After the freshen-up, they trialled Friday at Muswellbrook; Auzstar trialled well and showed good speed, and Agirlsbestfriend followed them around. 

“I was really happy with both runs, and they pulled up well and look terrific.”

With Port Macquarie still out of action, Quinn has been making do, working his horses at different locations. 

He gave the pair a track gallop at Tuncurry before their qualifier quinella, and he’ll be working them at Taree the following two Tuesdays in the lead-up to next month’s final.

“The plan is to gallop them together at Taree between races on Tuesday and then take them back the following Tuesday if I want to give them a stretch of the legs before the final,” Quinn said. 

“We’ve got no grass track at Port Macaque because of redevelopment, which is highly frustrating, but other clubs have been so accommodating. 

“The guys at Taree said if we need to galloper any young horse, let them know, and we can go down and do that.

“It’s the same with Garry McQuillan at Tuncurry and Tim Saladine at Coffs Harbour; they’ve offered us the use of their facilities.”

There will be plenty of interest in the two runners ahead of the rich country-restricted final.

Agirlsbestfriend is currently $12 and on the sixth line of betting, while Auzstar is $31 and is one of the outsiders. 

For the moment, Quinn’s focus is the Narrabri Cup non-TAB meeting.