Julius caps remarkable comeback in G1
Having been retired with a tendon injury, Julius has capped a remarkable comeback with a hard-fought Group One victory over Australian sprinter Winter Bride in the Railway at Ellerslie.
The eight-year-old was retired 12 months ago and spent much of that time roaming the paddocks of a west coast sheep station.
After showing John Bell enough to suggest the tendon had healed, Julius underwent a slow build-up to a racetrack return in late November when he finished third.
A win at Te Rapa last month over 1400m primed for Wednesday’s Railway (1200m).
The gelding burst to the front in the straight closely attended by Winter Bride and the pair set down to fight out the finish.
Julius prevailed by a neck with Dawn Patrol another length third.
Jockey Jason Waddell struggled to keep his emotions in check as he came back to scale.
“This is unbelievable and I couldn’t have asked for a better run or a better team of supporters around me,” Waddell said.
“This horse is just an incredible horse. He’s one of a kind.
“I really wanted to control the race as the speed was only moderate. I knew at the 1000 metres they were going to have to be good to beat me.
“I saw something coming out of the corner of my eye and he does labour a bit when in front, but with a couple of big screams it was wahoo, we did it!
“I’m so proud of my horse and I just love him to bits.”
Bell was also emotional as he paid tribute to the horse.
“It means everything and just to have him here was an absolute honour and a privilege,” he said.
“To see him do what he did to such a class field was just wonderful.
“He did himself the injury so he went out on to 3500 acres and started tearing it up so we thought we’d better bring him back in to get him under control.
“It was just a wonderful effort and now I’m just hoping it all stays together for the future.”