Sons Of John will head to the 2016 Epsom Handicap after he recorded a fast-finishing victory in the Bill Ritchie Handicap at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
There were plenty of winning chances in the Bill Ritchie Handicap with 100 metres left to run, but it was Sons Of John that was able to hold-off a fast-finishing Torgersen to record his second victory at Group 3 level.
Jockey Blake Shinn was riding Sons Of John in a race for the first time in the Bill Ritchie Handicap and he was very impressed with the performance of the horse that he believes is a genuine Epsom Handicap contender.
“He got in really well at the weights and he put a great run in first-up at Randwick a couple of weeks ago,” Shinn said.
“Full credit to Jason – he has done a wonderful job and it was my first ride for him today.
“It was a real battle and I was surprised a little bit early because I thought Testashadow would kick-up and hold the front, but Deanne didn’t want to apply too much pressure early.
“There wasn’t as much speed as I thought, but I just rode it as I saw it and it developed into a bit of a sprint home.
“When the run came he sprinted really quickly and he was very tenacious in that final 100.
“It was a great effort.
“The main aim is the Epsom and it can’t be underestimated in a race like that.
“He will get in with a light weight and with even luck from a good draw he could certainly make himself felt.”
Sons Of John has been the star horse for Jason Attard for a couple of years and he was thrilled to see the Oratorio gelding record another win at Group 3 level.
Attard was confident that Sons Of John would be able to outsprint his rivals in the final stages of the Bill Ritchie Handicap and he is hopeful that he will be able to do the same in the Epsom Handicap.
“Blake was fairly confident,” Attard said.
“I told him not to get after him too early because he has a pretty good burst in the end and it just worked out perfectly.
“It was always the aim to go back and have another crack at the Epsom and he should be nice and fit and ready to go.
“Hopefully Blake wants to ride him again.”
Torgersen looked to die on his run late and was still able to finish second, while Federal was a touch disappointing in third.