Julie Camacho says she owes star veteran sprinter Judicial everything as he gears up for another tilt at the All-Weather Sprint Championships on Friday at Newcastle.
After three wins from his first four starts, Judicial joined the Camacho yard – based in the racing hub of Malton, North Yorkshire – from Roger Charlton as a three-year-old and made an instant impact, winning a good Kempton handicap on stable debut.
Since then, the team has enjoyed a remarkable spell with the sprinter across seven years, collecting over £330,000 in prize money and landing two Group Three wins and a trio of Listed successes.
With most flat horses regressing at this point of their careers, the evergreen Judicial looks as enthusiastic as ever, landing the valuable Queensferry Stakes at Chester last year as well as a good second in the Listed Golden Rose Stakes at Lingfield.
And Camacho was happy to admit that the long-term success of Judicial, who runs on All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Newcastle, live on Sky Sports Racing, has taken her yard to the next level.
“He really is [part of the family],” she told Simon Mapletoft. “He’s been an absolute star for us. We look round and we have 50 horses – that’s down to Judicial.
“We’ve had him since he’s been a three-year-old and he’s part of the furniture – there will be a big hole when he retires.
“For a 10-year-old sprinter, he hasn’t got a lot of miles on the clock and he seems in great form and as enthusiastic as ever. We’re really happy with him.
“We owe him everything, to be honest.”
Judicial came to the yard with a bit of a reputation as being highly-strung, something that Camacho as well as exercise rider Nicola Scatcherd would agree with, although admitted he is much more manageable now than in his younger years.
“He came with a reputation and people thought he would be better in a small yard,” Camacho said. “He’s easy to train now though, we don’t make any special arrangements for him, he just goes into the string.
“Nicola has full confidence in him – she was still riding him at six months pregnant so that’s how much she trusts him and they trust each other!”
Scatcherd added: “He arrived with a bit of reputation but no one let me in on the secret! He still is a bit keen but he was runaway and bolt keen.
“He still gets very cautious of new people and he soon gets upset if something changes.
“When he had an abscess in his foot he went back to baby and naughty ‘Jude’ so that character is still in there but he’s just a gentleman really.”
He goes to All-Weather Championships Finals Day for the first time to be held at Newcastle, and whilst his exercise rider will be in attendance, Nicola admitted she won’t be able to watch the 10-year-old in action.
“I didn’t used to go racing but they’ve talked me into it,” she added. “I’m quite a nervous and anxious person and I decided it’ll just jinx it so I stand with my back to the racing.
“I’ll be there but I won’t watch – I’ll have my back to it and fingers in my ears!
“We’ve been together for a long time so it’ll be very strange [when Judicial retires] but hopefully not just yet.”
Assistant trainer and husband to Julie, Steve Brown, also said that the enthusiasm is still there in the horse as he bids to land the £77,000 first prize at Newcastle on Good Friday.
“We were happy with him in his prep run,” he said. “He gave Venturous 3lb because we are still carrying a penalty for our Listed win last season and also we had a messy fortnight with him before the race.
“He got a small abscess and missed one gallop so on the whole we were really pleased it’s served its purpose for qualification so onwards and upwards really.
“He’s ran 48 times so he’s not a high-mileage horse. His enthusiasm for life is wonderful and he’s a pleasure to have around. He just makes our job so much easier now.
“He’s opened lots of doors and we love him dearly. It would be great to have a happy ending.”