Twelve months ago Bendigo trainer Josh Julius had a "throw at the stumps" when Super Girl lined up in the Apiam Bendigo Cup.
Sent out in betting at $61, Super Girl ran a competitive eighth, beaten a tick over four lengths in race record time behind Top Of The Range.
This time around it's much more than just a throw at the stumps.
Super Girl is at her peak and Julius is confident the mare is a real chance of scoring the biggest win of his training career in Wednesday's Group Three event.
"Everyone has their hometown Cup, but not everyone has their hometown Cup worth $400,000 and some black type...it would be very special,'' Julius said on Tuesday.
"Last year was an afterthought and she ran competitively and, arguably, she's improved those lengths since then.
"Hopefully, we can give it a shake."
After Super Girl ran an unlucky third at Caulfield two weeks ago, Julius toyed with the idea of running Super Girl in last Saturday's Moonee Valley Cup, but he felt the Bendigo Cup would suit the mare better.
"She was close to her peak at Caulfield last start,'' he said.
"We've always thought she'd be a really good open handicapper or just below black type level.
"In those black type races if she got everything to go her way then she'd be right in it.
"We've raced her in some really good races this preparation, but she just hasn't had any luck in running.
"The Bendigo Cup is her chance to get a black type win...she already has a black type placing from the Andrew Ramsden in the winter.
"We're in it to win it, that's for sure."
The Bendigo Cup has attracted a quality field of stayers, headlined by Irish raider Pondus, the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Lord Belvedere and the team Hawkes runner Zebrowski.
"There's probably a couple of horses in there that we didn't expect, but those same horses are also nominated for (Melbourne) Cup week,'' Julius said.
"By the time Wednesday morning comes around there might be a few scratchings and it might open up.
"She's going to the race in the right form for us to be reasonably confident."
Drawing barrier 15 hasn't done Super Girl, Julius or jockey Jordan Childs any favours.
Ideally, Julius doesn't want Super Girl to be forced to the rear of the field from the wide draw.
Four pairs back with cover would suit the six-year-old mare.
"A truly run race is what we need,'' Julius said.
"If she can get a good tempo, and a good cart into the race, she'll be thereabouts at the finish."
On top of Super Girl running in the Cup on Wednesday, Julius has stablemates Highclass Harry and Just Folk running in the last heat of the Melbourne Cup Country Challenge series.
Highclass Harry has already qualified for the $500,000 final at Flemington on Oaks Day, while Just Folk needs to run first or second at Bendigo to force his way into the field.
Preparing horses for spring carnival feature races comes with added pressure for everyone involved, but Julius wouldn't have it any other way.
"This is why we do it,'' he said.
"To be aiming towards these races is why you want to be part of it.
"We all love our horses, but it makes our job even better when you have a good horse that can run in big races.
"We've been lucky this spring that we've got her and we've had a few other horses chipping away through the grades.
"Hopefully, we've got more good horses to come, but we're enjoying this ride while we can."
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