When it comes to sport, the Bendigo community is as proud and parochial as any major regional city in Australia.
Bendigo people back their own and they love nothing more than a local underdog success story.
Josh Julius is hoping the Bendigo community can help him add another chapter to Bendigo's proud sporting history.
The Bendigo trainer has entered Bendigo's best horse - Just Folk - in the world's richest mile race the All-Star Mile and he needs local support for the galloper to gain a start.
The field for the $5 million event is based largely on a public vote.
In the short history of the race, Bendigo has never had an entrant in the race, let alone have a horse make the final field.
Just Folk could change that.
"I'm not a golfer, but I certainly know who Lucas Herbert is from living in Bendigo,'' Julius said.
"There's people all around the world from Bendigo playing sport, so hopefully, going forward, Just Folk's name will be synonymous with the Bendigo community as being another of our sport stars."
Voting for the All-Star Mile opened on Monday, with the top 10 horses in the public vote guaranteed a start in the race.
By voting, members of the public go into the draw to be an owner for the day and they could win $250,000 if the horse wins the race.
Voting closes on February 13, with the race to be held on March 19 at Flemington.
"It's a voting process, but it's a superstar's race,'' Julius said.
"It's easily the biggest race in Victoria for the autumn carnival. There's a big carrot dangling there for trainers, owners and members of the public who vote for the horses.
"We haven't thrown him in the race just for fun. We'll be one of the underdog stories in the race, but the horse keeps improving and there's no reason why he won't be competitive.
"He is lightly raced and he hasn't reached his potential yet."
Just Folk's autumn campaign starts this Saturday in the Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.
It's the first in what Julius hopes will be three stepping stones to the All-Star Mile.
"We've got him fit enough, he just needs some match practice now,'' Julius said.
"If everything goes to plan we'd like to go Australia Stakes, two weeks into the C.F Orr Stakes, three weeks into the Blamey Stakes and then two weeks into the All-Star Mile.
"If he doesn't make it to the All-Star Mile we could look at a race like the Doncaster in Sydney. Being a handicap race, he'd get in down in the weights.
"For now, it's the Australia Stakes into the Orr and we can see where we're at in terms of form after that."
Just Folk is extra special to Julius because the horse was bred by his grandparents.
"He's very much a family horse,'' Julius said.
"Growing up I'd spend every school holidays at their farm milking cows. I'd catch the bus to their place on the last day of term and then get the bus home on the last day of school holidays.
"15 years later here we are with a horse they bred that I'm training and we're aiming at the world's richest mile race - it's an unbelievable story.
"We've been die-hard racing people through many generations. To have a horse this good is something we're cherishing.
"To have a horse that's capable of gaining a start in the world's richest mile race is amazing for us.
"(Wife) Kass and I have a young family (daughter Frankie) and to be up against the big boys of racing is something we won't forget for a long time."
To vote for Just Folk, go to www.allstarmile.com.au/horse-profiles/just-folk
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