Tullius triumphs in Bet365 Mile
Tullius showed his love for testing conditions, reveling in the mud to take the Group 2 Bet365 Mile at Sandown for Andrew Balding and Jimmy Fortune.
The 6yo, a Group 3 winner in 2012, warmed up for this contest with a fine runner up performance in the Lincoln at Doncaster last month, a run that seemed to have primed the Le Vie Dei Colori gelding for today’s impressive performance. It was the easing conditions that made the difference in the end however, as Balding’s charge quickened impressively in the closing stages under Fortune’s urgings, coming home a 3 3/4 length winner from Richard Hannon’s Montiridge at odds of 9/2.
The 8yo Penitent had set out the running from the off and would eventually stay on for third.
“He’s a very good horse when he gets the conditions. He loves the ground and loved the track,” Fortune said.
“They went a good gallop, he cruised round there and won with a fair bit in hand. My only fear was getting to the front too early.
“It’s a very good training performance. He ran an absolute blinder in the Lincoln off a big weight. He’s fit and he’s well and in top form.”
Winning trainer Balding added: “He was a high-class horse two years ago, very progressive, and won a Group Three at Salisbury nicely.
“Sadly, he got an injury at the end of that year and it took all of last year to get him right, but his run in the Lincoln was very good and he was entitled to come on for it.
“There were a lot of soft-ground horses in the race, but some of them didn’t have that advantage of having had a run and I think that’s significant at this time of year.
“We took a punt and speculated a few quid giving him entries in the Lockinge and the Queen Anne and he’s going to have to take one of those up, if we get the ground.
“With a Group Two penalty now for the rest of the year he’s going to have to take on better horses.
“It’s fantastic prize-money at that (Group One) level. Not that he’ll probably win any of those, but hopefully he might pick some decent place money.”
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