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Shalmaneser returning to Randwick for Cup

Jason Attard’s stable star Sons Of John is still yet to realise the young trainer’s Group One dream but his performances at the top level have paid dividends in the form of a handy stable acquisition.

Attard was sent Shalmaneser by owner David Zomaya after Sons Of John’s spring 2015 campaign during which he ran second to Winx in a Group Two race and finished third behind her in the Group One Epsom Handicap.

“He followed Sons Of John’s campaign and was very impressed how quickly we jumped through the grades,” Attard said.

“The owner had quite a high expectation of the horse and wanted to see if we could match the progression of Sons Of John.”

Attard has been able to get the best out of Shalmaneser, taking him from an honest midweek-grade stayer to Group Three placed in the Summer Cup (2000m) on Boxing Day at Randwick.

He gets another chance in stakes company in the Listed Australia Day Cup (2400m) at the same track.

After running third in the Tattersalls Cup (2400m), Attard opted to run Shalmaneser in a 1250m barrier trial which he won at Hawkesbury on January 2.

“I didn’t want to leave too long between runs when he’s racing over a journey,” Attard said.

“He’s come through that trial nicely and he’s right on the mark for tomorrow.”

Attard said he had a high opinion of the horse from the time he arrived in the stable and is delighted with his progress.

“Winning a Saturday race like he did last prep confirmed our belief in him,” Attard said.

“He’s been thrown in the deep end because of his low benchmark rating but it hasn’t been just to go around. We’ve always thought he’ll be competitive.”

Sons Of John is back in work at Attard’s Freemans Reach training property on the outskirts of north-west Sydney alongside his talented sibling Kellyville Flyer.

“We’re actually pretty lucky to have a dozen or so horses in work and still manage to have three horses that have earned black type while they were in our stable,” Attard said.

He said he was likely to wait for softer tracks to race Sons Of John and Kellyville Flyer with the Brisbane winter carnival under strong consideration for both horses.

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