Trainer John Bell says there is a very good reason his comeback hero Julius can complete New Zealand's glamour sprint double in the Telegraph at Trentham today.

Because the Cambridge horseman is adamant the big horse is better than when he beat many of today's opponents in the Railway at Ellerslie 18 days ago.

"I am absolutely sure of it, that race has brought him on," says Bell.

"He is really in the zone now and he is a happy horse.


"We wouldn't be going down there unless he was."

Railway winners going on to complete the double at Trentham are rare. Sprinters are the neurotic, coiled-up prima donnas of the thoroughbred world and often one grand-final campaign is enough for them.

Peaking at Ellerslie and leaving it all out on the track and then the long road trip to Wellington racing in the opposite direction down a dogleg 1200m on a track that can get hard at this time of the season is a bridge too far for many.

And until this year the Railway winner would cop extra weight for the Ellerslie group one success, making Trentham's challenge even more difficult.

Of those factors only a firmer track worries Bell.

The Telegraph has moved to weight-for-age this season so Julius not only doesn't cop a penalty for winning the Railway but comes in as good if not better against some of his rivals.

He has winning form at 1400m two starts ago which could help today as the Telegraph can sometimes suit those with the legs and lungs for a brutal 1200m, and the travel will be broken up by an overnight stop in Levin. "So I think we will get him there in the best shape possible so I am sure he can win.

"The draw is interesting. I think from nine if Jason (Waddell) can have him handy with cover that will be ideal and sometimes that is the best way to try and win this race.


"But yes, I don't really want the track too firm. But I am sure it will have a good sole of grass."

While Julius beat many he meets today at Ellerslie there are still some high-class newcomers headlined by Avantage and the southern stablemates Enzo's Lad and Sensei.

Enzo's Lad has won this race the last two years and popped over to Royal Ascot since so the weight-for-age scale suits him and he loves the Trentham dogleg.

That is one theory on why southern sprinters have such a good recent record in the Telegraph, because they cut their teeth on hard-run 1200m races at Riccarton, the only other dogleg in the country.

So Enzo's Lad could win without surprising while Sensei was third in this race last year and can go better.

Avantage actually has dogleg sprinting experience from her 2-year-old days at Riccarton but a far greater weapon is her sheer class.

She is potentially the best horse in the field and her preparation was going perfectly until she drew barrier 13.

There tend to be two types of Telegraphs: one where the leaders just keep running and those wide and back never get into the race or the other where they go too hard up front, puncture and the swoopers profit.

Avantage can win if today's Telegraph falls into the second category but they are few and far between. Still, she does have Opie Bosson in the saddle so if it can be done he is the man for the job.

If the race sees the leaders scurry away at the top of the straight and get too big a break then Winter Bride, who was second to Julius at Ellerslie after racing three wide, is a logical winning hope.

But as fast as she is, a firm track, weight-for-age and the different type of 1200m all raise questions, especially at her $3.80 quote.

There is plenty of value for punters, with Spring Heat an enticing $26 chance sitting just off the speed, Endless Drama a proven weight-for-age warrior and Sheezallmine a great fairytale story who won a high-class dogleg 1200m last start and has been trialling well.

If the once-retired Julius is going to achieve the rare sprint double today he is going to have to earn it.

Which is how it should be.

Cup Day

R5, 2.40pm: $70,000 Desert Gold Stakes, 3-y-o fillies, group three, 1600m

R7, 3.52pm: $250,000 Telegraph, sprinters, group one, 1200m

R8, 4.27pm: $200,000 Thorndon Mile, milers, group one, 1600m

R9, 5.03pm: $250,000 Wellington Cup, stayers, group three, 3200m