A MONTH of fluctuating fortunes for Bendigo trainer Josh Julius took another sharp turn for the better this week.
Julius, who tragically lost his stable star Super Girl after she broke down in this year's Group 3 Bendigo Cup, was back on a high on Wednesday following a benchmark 70 city win with the smart four-year-old Just Folk.
The Magnus gelding, who was bred by Julius' grandparents, looked every inch a horse with a huge future, by prevailing over smart types in the Peter Moody-trained Caffrey - a winner of three of his previous five starts, including one at metropolitan level - and dual city winner Wham, after sitting three-wide without cover throughout the trip.
A breakthrough city win, which followed a luckless fourth in the Ballan Cup (1512m) at Geelong, boosted Just Folk's early career record to three wins from seven starts
In his own words, one of the most pleasing aspects of Wednesday's win for Julius was that Just Folk 'still has a long way to go'.
"He's still not there in the head at all, at home and at the races, so it's very exciting," he said post-race on Racing.com.
"I was a bit nervous (during the run), we've been riding him (in a way) not to take his big finish away from him.
"He led comfortably on wet ground in a (benchmark) 64 around Bendigo, but I wasn't sure in this class if he'd be able to do that.
"The only instruction to Melissa was 'he's a big striding bugger, just keep his momentum up'. I didn't really care where he was (in the run).
"She didn't panic, he was wide and (Melissa) did the job really well, obviously down to 55.5kg. Melissa's done that relatively easy, which is a credit to her; she's going really well.
"And to all the team at home, everything is just falling into place for us at the moment. I have a great crew around me and I couldn't do it without them.
"Days like this are why we do it and it's very exciting."
Julius, who enjoyed a breakout 2019-20 season with nine winners, is on pace to easily eclipse that figure in 2020-21 with seven already, including two at metropolitan level.
His recent record reads even better with three wins from his last eight runners, starting with Highclass Harry in the final event on Bendigo Cup day.
Just Folk's victory was as sentimental as it was convincing.
"He was bred by my grandparents and we lease him off them, so to get a city winner wearing those colours was another bucket item ticked off," Julius said.
"He's actually a full-brother to Highclass Harry and both horses have done well this preparation.
"We were umming and ahing what to do with him (Just Folk) after (Wednesday), we might head for a bit of a break, but we will see what we can do in the autumn with him.
"Hopefully those two boys can keep flying the flag for the team."
A delighted Melissa Julius was equally stoked to notch up her seventh metropolitan win and another victory for her brother.
"I've been hanging to get on that bloke," she said.
"He's still so raw and so green. It wasn't a bad thing being three-wide outside the lead, as you could see he struggled around the bend a little bit, but I could get my revs going and keep his momentum up at my own peril.
"We hit the lead and wandered a little bit, but lucky he lifted to get over the line. I'm absolutely ecstatic.
"As I said, he's so green. He's still got so much to learn, but he's a very exciting horse."
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