BENDIGO trainer Josh Julius says he is rapt with how his stable star Just Folk has settled in Sydney and is eager to see what he can deliver in Saturday's Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m).
The $200,000 feature at Rosehill has attracted a small, but quality field of seven, headlined by the talented Sydney miler Ellsberg.
The four-year-old has banked more than $800,000 from six wins, including victories in the Listed South Pacific Classic and Group 3 Festival Stakes and Liverpool City Cup.
Julius, who has been in Sydney for the past week, is confident his Group 2 Crystal Mile winner will acquit himself well in what is an exciting first venture up north for both talented trainer and horse.
"He's well. He travelled up really well; it took him a couple of days to get on to his tucker. He certainly wasn't leaving any, just not eating as much as he normally does, but for the most part, he's flying now," he said.
"I'm really glad we came up as early as we did to settle him in as he is as happy as Larry.
"He did a good piece of work on Tuesday morning and he stretched his legs again (on Thursday) in good order and he is bright and well this morning (Friday).
"I can't really fault him at the moment."
A noted wet-tracker, Julius will get conditions to suit with Just Folk.
More than 250mm of rain fell in in his first four days in Sydney from last Saturday to Tuesday, but none has fallen since, with the sun shining on Thursday and Friday.
Just Folk will be having his first start since finishing a sound seventh in the Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes at Caulfield on February 12.
Julius said the four-week space between runs was his only concern heading into Saturday.
"The weather gods didn't allow us to trial in between runs and the program didn't really work for us at home the way we were, nursing that hoof abscess," he said.
"And the only trials available to us up here were on the poly track, which is not something he is familiar with and I didn't want to expose him to that this close to a race.
"Other than that, everything else appears in order.
"He looks really well and he's drawn well.
"Some might say barrier one is not much good, but I think if you were ever to draw barrier one in a Group race, you would hope it would be your first time going around the New South Wales way when the leader has drawn the outside gate.
"He'll have a horse and the rail to follow and likely a horse on his outside. Getting around the track wouldn't be too much of an issue you'd think.
"Most importantly, the whole reason we came up here, he gets a heavy track and we know that he goes well when he gets his toe in the ground."
A Group 1 Doncaster Mile penalty/ballot exemption awaits the winner of the Ajax Stakes (1500m), which would be another feather in the cap for Julius should Just Folk prevail at Rosehill.
But the trainer is taking nothing for granted, or looking that far ahead.
Just Folk will be ridden by Jason Collett, who enters Saturday in good form following a double at Canterbury on Thursday.
Ajax Stakes early betting: Ellsberg $1.30; Brutality $6.90; Just Folk $7.20; Kiku $11.60; Wairere Falls $15.30; Blue Soldier $16.10; Jalmari $116.50.
READ MORE: Group 2 success still surreal, says Julius
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