NZ Brief 32rd of February 2021

Group One winner retired; Grand Annual hopes for Magnanimous Man; Sky High for The Chosen One;

Julius winning the Allied Security Hcp
Julius winning the Allied Security Hcp Picture: Trish Dunell

Group One winner retired

Group One winner Julius has been retired.

It's not the first time the Swiss Ace nine-year-old has entered the retirement paddock, having been forced away from the track following his third-placing in the 2018 Gr.3 Sweynesse Stakes (1215m) after scans revealed he had a hole in his near fore tendon.

At that point in his career Julius had won the Gr.3 Concorde Handicap (1200m), Gr.3 Darley Stallions Plate (1200m), and placed in the Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) and Sweynesse Stakes.

Trainer John Bell received positive reports the following year and it was decided to bring the talented sprinter back into work.

"We put him out on a large sheep station on the west coast, and we just let him run around there for quite some time," Bell said.

"The only reason why we got him back was because he was chasing the sheep around, he was that well."

Julius came back and won the Gr.3 J Swap Contractors Sprint (1400m) second-up in 2019, before recording his first elite-level victory in the Gr.1 Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year's Day 2020.

He was beaten into second by Avantage in the 2021 edition of the Railway and he had two further starts before Bell decided to retire him after his ninth-placing in the Gr.1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m).

"He has been an amazing horse, he's an incredible animal – what he has done and won," Bell said. "It's been a wonderful journey."

Bell said the intention was to give Julius one final run in the Gr.3 Haunui Farm King's Plate (1200m) at Ellerslie on March 6, however, he said his stable star has nothing left to prove.

"He never left an oat after Te Rapa and he has never been as well in his life," Bell said.

"If you want to listen, they will talk to you. I went and had a chat with him on Monday and he said 'John mate, I'm done'.

"His last race was going to be the King's Plate, which was the Darley Plate when he won it, but he has done enough and doesn't have to prove anything more.

"He has been a very popular horse and he has always performed.

"We have got several nice horses about, so we will see how we can develop them, and hopefully we get lucky and get another Julius or Mosse."

Grand Annual hopes for Magnanimous Man

Former New Zealand jumper Magnanimous Man has joined Warrnambool trainer Patrick Ryan's barn ahead of a likely tilt at a number of feature Victorian jumps races.

"There's a bit of a wrap on Magnanimous Man," Ryan told The Standard.

"He's only had a handful of jumping starts which have resulted in two wins.

"His last jumps run was in the Great Northern Hurdle in October, where he was unplaced.

"He handles all types of conditions and also has some ability on the flat as well as being a very handy jumping prospect.

"He was purchased by some stable clients."

A number of feature jumps races beckon the son of Nom Du Jeu, but Ryan has a burning desire to target the Grand Annual Steeplechase (5500m) at his home track in May.

"The Grand Annual is the race that all jumps trainers would love to win," he said.

The seven-year-old gelding was previously trained in New Zealand by Craig and Shaun Phelan, for whom he won six of his 29 starts, and placed in four others.

Sky High for The Chosen One

Talented stayer The Chosen One is building up for another tilt at the Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m), a race he finished second in last year.

The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained five-year-old finished second when resuming in the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) earlier this month and is likely to launch his Australian campaign in the Gr.2 Sky High Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 13.

"At this stage he won't race for another three weeks from last Saturday," Forsman said.

"The Sky High Stakes will lead into probably the Tancred (Gr.1, 2400m) and then hopefully the Sydney Cup."

Meanwhile, the Cambridge trainers are weighing up Derby options with Makfi colt Frontman after he impressed when finishing second at Ellerslie on Saturday over 2100m.

"We have spoken about it (Gr.1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby, 2400m) but haven't locked it in with the owners yet," Forsman said.

"Our gut feeling is that it was a really good run (at Ellerslie) and we were rapt with how he went.

"We could justify a run in the Derby, but we think perhaps with the timing we might be best to keep him ticking over and he might be one to head to Sydney and have a crack at the ATC Derby (Gr.1, 2400m) instead."

The Australian Derby will be run at Randwick on April 3.

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