When Julienas passed the finishing post two lengths clear of his nearest rival in Saturday’s Sky High Stakes (1900m) at Rosehill, it was a satisfying win for trainer Gai Waterhouse.
Despite being well beaten in his first-up hit-out in the Liverpool City Cup (1300m), Waterhouse was confident he could handle a steep rise in distance and join the winner’s circle.
“I told anyone who asked, that Julienas could win this race second-up, and what a win it was,” Waterhouse said on her website.
“Julienas had, before Saturday, been flying on the training track.”
In a style that is typical of Waterhouse-trained horses, the six-year-old assumed the lead after crossing from a wide barrier and that is where he stayed.
With the help of a masterful front-running ride by Nash Rawiller, the Cape Cross gelding controlled the pace for the entire race, picking up cheap sectionals in front which ensured he would always be difficult to run down.
“Once in perfect rhythm the import had too much residual fitness and class and his opponents did not even get close,” Waterhouse said.
Following the win Waterhouse was quick to label him a Sydney Cup contender and while she is sticking by her claims, she admits it is an ambitious goal.
“Plans made in the winning circle are often not well thought out,” she said.
“Sure the Sydney Cup is a big carrot at the end of the autumn, and that is definitely in my mind for this gelding.
“The European-bred stayers continue to show up the local breeds when it comes to distance racing and tests of stamina.”
The Group 1 $500,000 Sydney Cup (3200m) will take place at Randwick on April 27.
Julienas has been allocated 53.5kg and is considered an $11 chance in betting behind Maluckyday ($7), It’s A Dundeel ($10) and Sangster ($10).