Lightly raced sprinter Julius delivered an emphatic statement when he captured his first stakes victory in the Group 3 Brighthill Farm Concorde Handicap (1200m) at Ellerslie.
The John Bell trained six-year-old has taken plenty of time to mature into his giant frame however an effortless first up victory a fortnight ago had many speculating this campaign could see him at his very best.
Those thoughts were well and truly confirmed as once again the Swiss Ace gelding ambled to a convincing win over a handy field that included three of the first four home in last week’s Group 1 Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham.
Settled handy to a hot speed set by frontrunners Ferrando and Passing Shot, Julius and rider Jake Bayliss bided their time before angling into the clear on the point of the home bend. Bayliss said go at the 300m mark and the big fellow bounded clear to put the issue beyond doubt as he held out the fast finishing Romancer to win in a smart 1.09.42 for the 1200m journey.
“It was pretty simple really,” said Bayliss as he returned to the winner’s enclosure after the race.
“It was always going to work in our favour as there was a bit of speed out wide and he jumped well himself.
“We crossed a few inside us and then let the horses out wide do their thing while we bided our time until he balanced himself up.
“He’s better than a Group Three horse and I think he can go on to better things.”
Bell was full of praise for both the horse and the ride of Bayliss as he waited for the pair to return to the birdcage.
“He rode him perfectly,” he said.
“What impressed me was the horse responded to him as he gave him a bit of bite for a start but then he relaxed in behind the two speedsters.
“The Darley is next on his dance list, so we will just keep him happy and bring him back here for that.”
The Group 3 Darley Plate (1200m) is the feature sprint on Vodafone New Zealand Derby Day at Ellerslie on Saturday 3 March.
Westbury Stud will offer a half-brother to Julius by Reliable Man as Lot 444 during the Book 1 catalogue at the NZB Karaka Yearling Sale Series that kicks off on Sunday