Attrition back after setback

Trainer Mitchell Freedman had hoped to be in Sydney for the opening day of The Championships at Randwick rather than chasing another stakes race at Caulfield. 

The Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) had been the target for the Freedman-trained Attrition when the entire commenced his autumn campaign, but a setback after his first-up run in February will instead see the entire run in the Group 3 Victoria Handicap (1400m) on Saturday. 

Attrition suffered a sprained fetlock when finishing last in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) on February 24 which required time and effort to get over. Freedman put the blame for the injury on the track that day as Attrition had never had a soundness issue in his previous 10 starts. 

"I think running 10 races and running your good horses as race eight, nine, ten of the day is not the way to play it," Freedman told RSN. "I would like to see those days reduced in the number of races run. I think you want to present the best surface to the best horses. 

"The Caulfield track presented in great shape that day. It had good give in it, but after a number of horses had galloped over it, it presented a bit rough, and I think that may have been the reason he sprained a joint. 

"He's always been a very sound horse and it was unfortunate he had the issue coming out of it." 

Attrition has options in Sydney and Brisbane in the coming weeks; picture Racing Photos 

Attrition showed he had got his campaign back on track with a Donald trial win on March 20, although Freedman is wary and wants to see him do again on race day. 

Freedman said Attrition, who will be ridden by Beau Mertens, will revert to his usual pattern of being ridden off the speed after drawing barrier nine in the 12-horse field. 

"We'll be riding him to be hitting the line," Freedman said. "We won't be putting any pressure on him in the first furlong or two, and we just want to see him rounding it off. That will be a big tick going forward and then we can work out our plans going forward from there." 

The Group 1 All-Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 20 looms as a potential target in Sydney for Attrition, although Freedman said he may look further north with the four-year-old. 

"If he ran well at the 1400 metres, there is the All-Aged Stakes at the end of the Sydney Carnival," Freedman said. "But there's the Queensland Carnival starting to knock on our door and there's some three and four-year-old restricted races that are run in NSW that are coming up and that are worth really good prizemoney. 

"There's plenty of options for him, but we just want to see him back and perform on race day."