Just Folk secured themselves a start in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile after a good win in Saturday’s Group 2 Ajax Stakes over 1500m at Rosehill Gardens.
Sent out as a $7 chance, the Josh Julius-trained galloper finished off too strongly to win by three tenths of a length.
The five-year-old gelding had been racing well this preparation, putting the writing on the wall last start after a seventh in the Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes.
Ridden by Jason Collett, Just Folk proved too strong for Ellsberg and Kiku in the Group 2 event.
It had been a deliberate plan to get to the Doncaster Mile through this ballot exempt race, with Julius saying it was good that the plan came to fruition.
“Wow. We took a big risk, we are obviously a very small stable at Bendigo and taking this horse away from home and being away from Cassie, my wife, and Frankie, my 2-1/2 year old daughter for a week, it’s been the longest I have ever been away from them and it has been tough,” Julius said.
“You have to dream. This is the racing industry, it’s full of dreams.
“We said this horse wouldn’t know himself with 55.5kg on his back and Jason has given him a terrific ride.
“He won’t know himself again in three weeks with 50 on his back, that’s for sure.”
Winning rider Jason Collett was full of praise post-race, saying that Just Folk deserved a crack at the famous Group 1 mile, which will be run at Royal Randwick on Day 1 of The Championships (April 2) at Royal Randwick.
Just Folk now a $21 hope in the Doncaster Mile, with Converge the current $6 favourite from I’m Thunderstruck ($7), while Anamoe and Private Eye are both $9.