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Julius Set For Counties Comeback
Talented sprinter Julius has been given the green light to return to racing in Saturday's Listed Haunui Farm Counties Bowl (1100m) at Pukekohe, reports NZ Racing Desk. The son of Swiss Ace has never finished further back than third in his 13-start career, winning seven races including last year's Gr3 Concorde Handicap (1200m) and Gr3 Darley Plate (1200m) at Ellerslie. He lined up in last season's Gr2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) and was beaten a nose by Melody Belle, who has subsequently won nine Gr1 races and was crowned New Zealand's Horse of the Year. His rapid rise was cut short 12 months ago when he was found to have a hole in his near fore tendon after a third placing in the Gr3 Sweynesse Stakes (1215m) at Rotorua, and he was retired from racing. But Julius had other ideas. "The treatment that we gave him for his injury was the same treatment that had previously been given to the first four horses home in this year's Wellington Hurdle and the first three home in the Wellington Steeplechase, so it's been proven that they can come back," trainer John Bell said. "We brought him along gently at first, putting him in the pool and giving him quite some time on the walker. Then we gradually built up his work from there." Julius will carry 60kg against a strong sprinting line-up that includes rising star mare Marzemino, the winner of all of her last three starts. Julius holds a nomination for the Gr1 Sistema Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year's Day, which had been last year's major summer target prior to his injury.