Julius the conqueror

Julius (Matt Cameron) scoring a convincing win at Ellerslie yesterday.

Julius (Matt Cameron) unleashing his power to score a convincing win at Ellerslie yesterday.

Julius’s winning performance at Ellerslie yesterday proved he is capable of conquering tougher assignments in the future.

The five-year-old son of Swiss Ace has been patiently handled by Cambridge trainer John Bell and has amassed a record of two wins and three dividend-bearing placings from his just five starts.

He bears the christian name of Julius Caesar, the Roman conqueror who was one of the most influential men in world history, changing the course of the history of the Greco – Roman world and being responsible for the first Roman invasion of Britain in 55 BC.

Bell’s Julius will never be as well-known as the great conqueror but he does look a horse who will develop into a very good galloper able to claim some of our bigger races.

“He’s still as green as grass and we’ve been just waiting for the penny to drop,” said Bell. “He’s a great big elephant who can gallop. These Swiss Aces, the older they get, the faster they get.”

Julius didn’t make his first public appearance until last April and he showed immediate talent, winning a Te Teko trial over 1020 metres. Six weeks later he was second in a Cambridge trial behind the Chris Wood-trained Wooden Edge and he again chased that galloper home when second in his raceday debut at Te Awamutu on June 26.

Wooden Edge went on to frank that form when remaining unbeaten in his first three starts and Julius followed up his debut second with a decisive maiden win over 1200 metres at Matamata a month later before finishing a sound third at Rotorua on the final day of last season.

After being freshened, Julius impressed winning a Cambridge trial on November 28 when beating his top-class stablemate Mosse (who has since been retired) and the smart mare Capella.

He has had two starts since that trials win and has been close to being unbeaten this season. He was beaten a mere head by Odisha fresh-up over 1200 at Te Rapa on December 17 when finding the line strongly.

Stepping up to 1400 metres for the first time yesterday and carrying the topweight of 60kg, Julius bounced out well in the NZ Herald 1400 and worked to the lead before being eased by rider Matt Cameron to get the trail. After initially over-racing when restrained, he settled fourth and was in a good position approaching the home turn.

Cameron got to work on Julius early in the run home, getting him balanced and winding him up, and the big fellow claimed Courtmaster inside the last 100 metres and drew ahead to score by a length.

Bell now plans to look for a suitable Rating 75 1400 metres for Julius, but it’s a safe bet he won’t be stopping there.

The slow-maturing gelding has a bright future and before the year is out he should be chasing bigger bucks and conquering some smart gallopers.