Attila claims second Coonamble Cannonball

The Sue Grills trained Attila is guided to a second Coonamble Cannonball by the in-form Mathew Cahill on Sunday. Photo: Racing Photography.

Attila is the gift that just keeps on giving for Tamworth trainer Sue Grills, with the seven-year-old securing his second Coonamble Cannonball in three years.

The I Am Invincible gelding won the feature race back in 2019, when guided to the winning line by Greg Ryan.

On Sunday, the talented sprinter backed up to win the $35,000 feature again, but this time it was Mathew Cahill in the saddle, and the in-form hoop put in a peach of a ride to help Attila finish strongly ahead of A Magic Zariz in second place and Bold and Wild in third. 

Grills travelled to Coonamble confident of a good showing in the 1100m Open sprint.

“I thought he would run a good race, he has been racing well and he only had 55.5 kg and I thought he was a good each way chance,” Grills said. 

Earlier in the week, rain threatened to put a dampen on the Coonamble meeting, and Grills explained the track held up well, which suited Attila. 

“I thought he would handle it, but the track really dried out as the day went on,” Grills said. 

“It was only wet in that patch between the 450m and 350m, and he prefers a four or five and the track wasn’t too bad.”

Mathew Cahill’s ride was a gem, with Attila unleashed at the perfect time before storming home for the win, and the trainer said he was the difference on the day. 

“He rode him perfect. I said he is sit-back horse and he’ll always hit the line the strong and he rode him well,” Grills said.

Grills touched on her success in the Cannonball, which she believed was a tough race to win.

“I have had a bit of luck in the Cannonball, Atilla won it two years ago, Flight In Space won it twice and I think Under The Thumb won one as well,” Grills said. 

“It’s a good race, and always a tough race to win but most horses get a chance at Coonamble with a big, long straight.”

Attila has turned out to be a good earner for Grills, winning almost $180,000 in prizemoney, which is terrific when considering he was purchased as a tried horse after two wins.

“He has been a good horse,” Grills said. 

Mathew Cahill returns on Attila after winning the 2021 Coonamble Cannonball on Sunday. Photo: Racing Photography.

“That was his eighth win, Narelle Pullman that owns him, she bought him as a tried horse and I think he had won two races and we’ve had a lot of fun with him, that’s for sure.

“Two years ago, he won The Kerby at Grafton, and he has been a good littler earner.”

The 37-start veteran has more wins in him according to Grills.

“He is sound and racing well,” Grills said. 

“His last prep, he was just going terrible and there was something wrong with him and we just couldn’t pinpoint it, so we gave him a long spell and he has come back good.”

Grills will now set her sights on the Showcase meeting at her home track on Friday with eight runners entered.