The Josh Julius-trained Just Folk produced a mighty effort at The Valley on Saturday to win the Group 2 Crystal Mile on Cox Plate Day.
The son of Magnus brought good form to the races ahead of his fourth-up assignment, and was ridden a peach by John Allen, who won the race for a second time after claiming the honours three years ago on Cliff’s Edge.
With Rhinoceros setting a quick tempo up front, Just Folk was settled in behind the speed before making a line of three at the top of the straight.
From there, Allen kicked clear at the 100m mark to see off a late challenge from Begoodtoyamother and race-favourite Elephant, who found himself with too much work to do late.
Just Folk was originally set to race the night prior on the Manikato card, but with the Crystal Mile looking a little weaker than usual, Julius said the decision was made to line him up on Cox Plate Day instead.
“We scratched from last night thinking it might be our chance,” Julius told Racing.com.
“It’s obviously not the most regal of Cystal Mile’s ever run, and we thought with the form he’s in, it was terrific to see those two horses go one-and-two in the Vobis Gold Star out of the Seymour Cup, but to come here and do it is a massive thrill”
Just Folk was a clear fifth last time out in the Seymour Cup over the mile but his form prior suggested a win was on the horizon.
The five-year-old placed first-up at Caulfield over 1200m before finishing runner-up in a Stakes race at Flemington start the month.
Begoodtoyamother was excellent in his fourth run back, the Daniel Bowman gelding sticking on well for second after racing on-speed throughout.
Elephant still made up ground to run third, but the damage was done early as he found himself stuck along the rails rounding the turn.
The 2021 Crystal Mile finishing order can be viewed here.