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Julius DarleyEnjoy Your Retirement “Sir” Julius

What a terrific feeling it must be to go to the races and know you have a talented horse, who with luck in the running is going to return you a dividend. This past week has seen the retirement of the Swiss Ace sprinter Julius who has done just that throughout his career, proving to be an excellent advertisement for his sire, and a fantastic performer for trainer John Bell and his owners M Balzer MNZM, Miss Summer Bell, G H Davey, W G Harris, R E Hawkins, H R Jones, S P Read, M I Robins & P Smith-Schmidt.

Julius took time to mature and did not have his first start until June 2016, running second to the Chris Wood-trained Wooden Edge in a maiden 1150m at Waipa. Julius was to have two further starts in that preparation, recording a win at Matamata and a third placing at Rotorua. Spelled after this, Julius had four starts between December and March 2017 winning twice and finishing second at his two remaining starts, before undergoing a long break away from the track. 

Returning as a mature 6YO in January this year, the massive gelding returned in outstanding fashion, winning a Rating 75 sprint at Ellerslie by 3.5 lengths over 1200m and announcing his arrival as a serious contender to the northern sprinting ranks. Julius backed up 13 days later in his first black type assignment – the ARC Concorde Stakes Gr.3 on a Karaka Million Day – and again proving his superiority as he defeated fellow homebred Romancer by 1.3 lengths and stopping the clock at a respectable 1:09.42 for the 1200m.

Five weeks later Julius reappeared in the Group 3 Darley Stallions Plate over 1200m on Derby Day at Ellerslie. Starting a warm favourite Julius recorded his fourth win in succession as he finished off strongly to beat Heroic Valour and Sultan of Swing in the sprint feature and running a very fast 1:08.32 – a time seldom bettered for the 1200m at Ellerslie.

It was not until August that Julius was seen out again, winning over 1200m at Te Rapa upon his return. Two weeks later Julius returned to Te Rapa, starting favourite in the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate and fighting strongly to the wire to just go down to the high class mare Melody Belle in a nail biting finish. Melody Belle went onto the Hawkes Bay carnival after Te Rapa and recorded two Group 1 victories in the Tarzino Trophy and the Windsor Park Plate.

Julius’s final start came in the Sweynesse Stakes Gr.3 at Rotorua where he uncharacteristically missed the start and again gave it his all to just go down on the line, finishing third to Volks Lightning and Indecision, beaten 0.3 of a length. There are few horses more genuine than Julius, a fact his record highlights with 13 starts for 7 wins, 4 seconds, and 2 thirds and $228,025 in prizemoney – enjoy your retirement big fella!

A $44,000 yearling purchase by his trainer, Julius was bred by Gerry Harvey at Westbury Stud and has been a standout performer for his sire Swiss Ace over the past six months. Mr Harvey has retained a Swiss Ace sister to Julius to race and a half-brother (by Reliable Man) was sold to DGR Thoroughbreds and John Thompson Racing at Karaka in January for $220,000.

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