Group One winner retired

Julius winning the 2020 Group 1 Railway (1200m). Photo: Trish Dunell

Group One winner Julius has been retired.

It’s not the first time the Swiss Ace nine-year-old has entered the retirement paddock, having been forced away from the track following his third-placing in the 2018 Group 3 Sweynesse Stakes (1215m) after scans revealed he had a hole in his near fore tendon.

At that point in his career Julius had won the Group 3 Concorde Handicap (1200m), Group 3 Darley Stallions Plate (1200m), and placed in the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) and Sweynesse Stakes.

Trainer John Bell received positive reports the following year and it was decided to bring the talented sprinter back into work.

“We put him out on a large sheep station on the west coast, and we just let him run around there for quite some time,” Bell said. “The only reason why we got him back was because he was chasing the sheep around, he was that well.”

Julius came back and won the Group 3 J Swap Contractors Sprint (1400m) second-up in 2019, before recording his first elite-level victory in the Group 1 Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day 2020.

He was beaten into second by Avantage in the 2021 edition of the Railway and he had two further starts before Bell decided to retire him after his ninth-placing in the Group 1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m).

“He has been an amazing horse, he’s an incredible animal – what he has done and won,” Bell said. “It’s been a wonderful journey.”

Bell said the intention was to give Julius one final run in the Group 3 Haunui Farm King’s Plate (1200m) at Ellerslie on March 6, however, he said his stable star has nothing left to prove.

“He never left an oat after Te Rapa and he has never been as well in his life,” Bell said. “If you want to listen, they will talk to you. I went and had a chat with him on Monday and he said ‘John mate, I’m done’.

“His last race was going to be the King’s Plate, which was the Darley Plate when he won it, but he has done enough and doesn’t have to prove anything more.

“He has been a very popular horse and he has always performed.

“We have got several nice horses about, so we will see how we can develop them, and hopefully we get lucky and get another Julius or Mosse.”

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