Judicial may be getting on in terms of a sprinter – but Julie Camacho’s eight-year-old appears to have found a new lease of life over six furlongs, having run out a ready winner of the Betfair Backs Racing Welfare Chipchase Stakes.
Having been a reliable type just below the highest class for a number of years, all Judicial’s best form was over five furlongs – save for a handful of experimental runs over six.
It was not until he landed a Listed race over that trip at Lingfield in November that connections began to think now may be the time to campaign up in distance – although he reappeared back over the minimum at Newmarket when closing into second behind Far Above.
He looked noticeably happier mid-race back over six at Newcastle, however, with jockey Callum Rodriguez the last off the bridle en route to a 9-1 victory in a contest run in torrential rain.
It soon became apparent the favourite Mubakker would not be winning, and he dropped away to be last of all, leaving Judicial to see off the Kevin Ryan-trained pair of Brando and Major Jumbo by a length and a half to provide Rodriguez with a first Group-race success.
Steve Brown, Camacho’s partner and assistant, said: “He keeps surprising us. When they get to eight you wonder if they are going to start regressing a touch – but he looks as good as ever.
“I led him to the start, but you now have to walk back, and I knew after two furlongs at Newmarket they were going too fast for him – although he still ran well.
“The logical thing was to come back half a stride to let him travel – and he seemed to love it, he travelled really well.
“It’s a stiff six here, but he got it really well. He got the easy six at Lingfield, but he helps you now, he settles and you can ride a race – before he wouldn’t even meet you halfway.
“He’s done so much for Elite Racing, who are great supporters of ours. He’s a home-bred – and while he hasn’t achieved as much as his half-sister (Marsha) he’s won two Group Threes and means the world to us.
“We’ve run him in the better races, and he couldn’t go with Battaash at Goodwood, and we said ‘no more at that level’. But you look at that today – well we can have a look at the July Cup, and see who is in it. It’s a possibility.”
A thrilled Rodriguez said: “I’m over the moon. On his last run in the Palace House I thought he’d go close – he ran a massive race behind a serious horse, and obviously it’s a shame his (Far Above’s) career his over.
“He’s unreal. He’s done all his racing over five. But we discussed it, and he’d been behind the bridle before finishing well, so it looked the time to step up him to six.”