Wet track key for Just Folk in Hawkesbury Cup 2023

Sydney has been a happy hunting ground for Victorian trainer Josh Julius, who is hoping his gamble to bring Just Folk north in search of a wet track pays dividends at Hawkesbury.

The gelding will take his place in the Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) at the club’s stand-alone Saturday meeting, just over a year after he plundered the Ajax Stakes on a heavy track at Rosehill.

Just Folk went on to finish midfield in the Doncaster Mile, returning in the spring to beat all but multiple Group 1 winner Cascadian in the Craven Plate at Randwick.

They are outstanding formlines for Saturday’s Group 3 race and after two solid lead-up runs on unsuitable firm tracks in Victoria, Julius has Just Folk ready to peak.

“Other than trainer error and going to The Gong when I probably shouldn’t have, every time we’ve come to Sydney he has run creditably,” Julius said.

“Hopefully again we’ve pulled the right rein to head north at the right time.

“Given I ran him in the Gong, he wasn’t going to be up in time to come back and have a go at the Ajax again and into the Doncaster.

“The Hawkesbury Cup was on the radar as realistically being the only option for him in Sydney in the autumn and as it has panned out, he comes here third-up, hopefully we can get his toe into the ground and he seems to appreciate this way of going.”

Just Folk will carry 57.5kg at Hawkesbury, four kilos above the minimum and the lightest impost he has carted in the past seven months.

He has Quokka-winning jockey Josh Parr in the saddle and with three early scratchings comes into barrier eight in the 16-horse field.

If he can get a rain-affected track to boot, Julius reckons the stars might just align for the horse to snare another NSW feature.

“Finally we tick a few more boxes than we have in his other races this preparation,” he said.

The Hollindale Stakes (1800m) in Queensland is on the radar for Just Folk if he performs at Hawkesbury where he is an $8.50 chance behind comeback galloper Floating Artist, who is a $4.40 favourite in an open market.

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