Attrition (Churchill) wins the Gr.1 Toorak Handicap at Caulfield

First Australian G1 Winner for Churchill

Churchill has sired a couple of outstanding Northern Hemisphere multiple Group I winners in Vadeni and Blue Rose Cen and now he has one in Australia with talented performer Attrition (4h Churchill x Queen's Kiss, by French Deputy) arriving in the last stride to win the $1million Group I MRC Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

Trained by Mitchell Freedman, Attrition has shown flashes of real brilliance in the past, most notably when beaten a head by Legarto to be second in the Group I VRC Australian Guineas back in March.

His first two runs back from spell were both good in top company before a last start below par run that saw him go to the post for this Group I contest at 25-1.

Attrition proved his last start failure was no guide when enjoyed a good run in transit for Beau Mertens and hit the line hard to snatch a narrow victory over Antino delivering a first Group I win for both his jockey and trainer.

“I’ve had, I think, three seconds in Group 1s before today and it is so good to get over the line because we have been nutted a few times,” Freedman said.

“We always knew he was up to the level. He was very disappointing last start. Back to handicap, aided by a brilliant ride by a jockey that is well and truly on the rise.

“How good.”

Beau Mertens is the son of multiple G1 winning jockey Peter Mertens, who passed away in June this year, so his son was thrilled to win in his honour.

“I don’t really get emotional that often, but, obviously, with Dad’s passing earlier in the year, all he wanted to do was see me ride a Group 1 winner,” Mertens said.

“To come out and do it this spring, unfortunately he can’t be here, and I know he was riding with me every step of the way today.”

Attrition was a $180,000 Inglis Premier purchase for his trainer from the Mill Park draft and runs for a syndicate headed by Halo Racing Services in whose colours he runs and has the overall record of three wins and four placings from 10 starts with prizemoney topping $950,000.

Bred by The Toorak Thoroughbred Breeding Trust, as was Sydney stakes-winner Arctic Glamour, Attrition is a half-brother to stakes-winner Royal Rumble being the sixth winner from terrific producer Queen’s Kiss, who has a yearling colt by Churchill.

Attrition is the 14th stakes-winner for Churchill, who is in Australia this spring at a fee of $22,000.