Given the significant role Sons Of John has played in trainer Jason Attard’s career, it is no surprise the gelding has been given ample time to get over a tendon injury.
The seven-year-old was the Hawkesbury-based Attard’s first Group One runner in the 2015 Epsom Handicap in which he ran third behind Winx and Ecuador.
At his previous start, Sons Of John went within a head of beating Winx in the Group Two Theo Marks Stakes with the mare going on to become the world’s highest racehorse.
A dual Group Three winner, Sons Of John was diagnosed with the tendon issue after finishing runner-up in the Group Three JRA Plate (2000m) on heavy ground at Randwick in April last year.
He makes his long-awaited comeback in Saturday’s Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) at Scone.
“It wasn’t a major injury but we’ve done everything by the book to give him every chance,” Attard said.
“We’ve played it safe and it’s great to have him back. This will be too short for him, but it’s a starting point to see whether we go to Brisbane.”
Attard had nominated Sons Of John for the Group One Doomben Cup (2000m) next Saturday but he will stay closer to home for two or three runs before heading north.
Sons Of John was a $23 chance with the TAB on Friday while Godolphin’s in-form Osborne Bulls was the $2.30 favourite to win at his first crack at a black-type race.
Jockey Jay Ford shares Attard’s realistic expectations for Sons Of John who rides in a race for the first time after being aboard for two lead-up trials.
“He’s been off the scene for a while now, so you just want to see him do everything right,” he said.
“He’ll get back and as long as he gets out and finds the line, it’s a starting point to step up in distance.
“In his best form he’s a very capable galloper and I expect him to run a pretty competitive race.”
The field was trimmed to 12 on Friday when Newcastle trainer Kris Lees opted to run Le Romain in Saturday’s Group One Doomben 10,000 in Brisbane.