Julius (Jason Waddell) resumes on a winning note at Te Rapa.
With big things looming on his horizon, boom sprinter Julius returned to action with a stylish victory at Te Rapa this afternoon.
The big son of Swiss Ace made a huge impression in his unbeaten three-start campaign last summer, which included sparkling victories in the Gr. 3 Concorde Handicap and Darley Stallions Plate. In the latter event, he clocked 1:08.32 for the 1200 metres.
Today’s $35,000 Allied Security 1200 was his first start since then, and he lived up to his $1.60 favouritism for the seventh win of his 11-start career.
Ridden by Jason Waddell, the lightly raced seven-year-old went straight to the lead from his inside gate. Resurrect and Contessa Vanessa went with him and tried their best to stay with him in the last 400 metres, but Julius showed his class and scored by a length and a half.
“You could say he was 75 or 85 per cent ready today,” trainer John Bell said. “That was a more than satisfactory performance.
“We’ll look after him over the next two weeks and then bring him back here for the Foxbridge Plate, and we’ll see what happens from there.
“This run will bring him on quite a lot. We won’t have to do much work with him – we usually give him one round, and then send him around in the pool. He’s a big boy, so we need to look after his legs and try to keep the weight off them.”
Julius is now the equal $9 favourite (with Melody Belle and Start Wondering) for the Tarzino Trophy at Hastings on September 1, but a shot at the season-opening Group One has yet to be confirmed.
“That would be two weeks and then two weeks, which we haven’t done with him before – usually it’s been five or six weeks,” Bell warned. “So we’ll wait and see. If Jason says he’s doing everything right and feeling good, we’ll have a crack. But the main thing is looking after him for Christmas.”
Bell was full of praise for Waddell, who has now won three of his four rides on Julius.
“He’s been through a tremendous amount and he’s done a marvellous job, he’s so dedicated,” the Cambridge trainer said. “He couldn’t wait for this. All week he’s been saying things like ‘five more sleeps’.”
Waddell added that today’s Te Rapa track, which was downgraded to Heavy10 following afternoon rain, was far from ideal.
“The track out there was not nice, he’ll be much better on drier ground – we’ve seen him run 1:08,” this year’s New Zealand Derby-winning jockey said. “I’ve got an easy job on this horse. He’s an uncomplicated horse to ride.
“All credit has to go to John and his staff. It would be easy to get carried away with a horse like this, but they’ve been playing the long game and giving him the time he needs to mature. Hopefully they’ll start to reap the rewards for that patience.”
The 76-rated Resurrect ran a big race for second, while Contessa Vanessa produced an eye-catching performance in third. The daughter of Bullbars won last season’s Gr. 2 Eight Carat Classic and Gr. 3 Sunline Vase and was second to Savvy Coup in the Gr. 1 New Zealand Oaks. This was her first start since she ran ninth in the Australian Oaks in Sydney in April.
Group One winner Close Up, carrying 63.5 kilograms, caught the eye with a strong performance just behind the placegetters.