Considering the lay-off Sons Of John endured before a luckless comeback, Jason Attard has brushed another potential setback to the gelding’s return to racing.
Topweight for Saturday’s Octagonal Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill after just one start in more than a year, Sons Of John also copped the outside barrier when the field of 13 was confirmed on Wednesday.
While the alley appeared awkward, Hawkesbury-based trainer Attard did see a potential upside for the seven-year-old.
Sons Of John drew barrier two for his return from a long-term tendon injury in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) at Scone on May 12 and was never able to build momentum in the straight after being checked.
“It was a substantial check and he had to get pulled up completely almost halfway up the straight,” Attard said.
“Knowing how he races, he was just winding up and about to get going and pretty much got stood on his head and had to stop.”
Sons Of John eventually finished ninth, 3-3/4 lengths off the winner Osborne Bulls.
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“I was happy with the run, though it would have been nice to see if he’s still got that really good turn of foot,” Attard said.
“We’ll just put a line through it and go again. This gate’s not ideal but it’ll lessen the chances of getting stuck on the rail again.”
Attard was realistic about Sons Of John’s prospects in what he described as a fitness-building exercise.
“He’ll get back, get cover and then he’ll have to come screaming down the outside. That’ll be an ask with the weight (61kg) he’s carrying,” he said.
“I’m not going to stress too much, we’ll use this to go up to the mile and 2000 metres.”
On a positive note, Sons Of John recovered well from his first run since the JRA Plate (2000m) at Randwick in April last year.
“Obviously after having such a long time out he’s got a little bit more spring in his step so I’m pretty happy happy with him,” Attard said.
Sons Of John holds a special place in Attard’s stable given he was the trainer’s first Group One runner in the 2015 Epsom Handicap, where he placed third behind the mighty Winx and Ecuador.