BENDIGO trainer Josh Julius hopes a win across the border in South Australia on Saturday can lay the groundwork for a successful campaign ahead with Just Folk.
The promising four-year-old, ridden by Josh's younger sister Melissa Julius, did everything that was expected of him in winning a $44,750 benchmark 68 over 1400m at Murray Bridge.
It was the son of Magnus and Fast Ruby's fourth career win in only 10 starts and has likely booked the 75-rating gelding a trip to Sandown in a few weeks' time.
Just Folk was able to down the heavily-backed favourite Melody Man, who ran on well for second in an encouraging second-up run for his Victor Harbour trainer Jake Stephens.
Julius said it was great to see the plan for Just Folk come to fruition.
"It is something we targeted a few weeks ago and worked him towards. He had a little quiet jump out in between runs and it all just panned out beautifully," he said.
The win came third-up for Just Folk, who returned from a long spell to finish fourth at Sandown in a benchmark 70 in May, before finishing down the field following a tough run at Flemington in a benchmark 78 in early June.
Julius is confident the four-year-old, who he leases from his grandparents Leo and Maureen Dwyer, who bred Just Folk and also his older brother Highclass Harry, is heading in the right direction.
"I thought his first-up run at Sandown was terrific; I thought it was reflective of where he is at with his form and what he was doing before he went out into the paddock," he said.
"Then his second run was in the toughest company he's been in his whole career.
"He drew wide and we probably could have waited for something else, but we wanted to have a look at him at Flemington. He saw plenty of it, he was pretty wide and he didn't get much of a chance at it.
"It was pretty much a 'rule the line through it' sort of run, but you are still a bit nervous going into the next race with that run in the back of your mind.
"Hopefully he will head to the next run with more confidence and we'll see what he can achieve."
"He has his fair share of ability and he has his fair share of quirks too. We are still figuring him out and he's still figuring out how to be a racehorse.
"For us, to get four wins from 10 starts with a horse we haven't fully figured out shows there is plenty of scope for improvement.
"Hopefully, we can see that improvement this prep and in further preps."
Julius declared the win a nice confidence booster for jockey Melissa Julius on her return from a controversial four-week suspension.
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