Talented Grafton galloper Jule’s Spirit gave his trainer John Shelton his first winner of the Sir James Kirby Handicap during the 2021 July Racing Carnival. Image: Screenshot from Racing NSW website

Local spirit flies in Grafton

Emma Pritchard|

He has already won the time-honoured Ramornie Handicap, and after his brilliant sprinter Jule’s Spirit scorched the turf to win him his first Sir James Kirby Handicap on July 8, local trainer John Shelton eagerly declared he needs to win the Grafton Cup next.

“I’ve never won the Kirby before,” he said as Jule’s Spirit made a triumphant return to the mounting yard.

“But I have had a lot of fast horses over the years.

“This fellow (Jule’s Spirit) ran a great race in the Kirby last year, and everything fell into place for him this year.”

Fresh off an eye-catching win at Kempsey on June 20, Jule’s Spirit was well fancied in the market.

The speedy son of Queensland sire sensation Spirit Of Boom broke smartly from barrier one and sat fourth on the rails behind the leaders in the 1000m sprint before jockey Luke Rolls guided him around the outside of race favourite Remlaps Gem coming into the home straight, and the gelding powered clear to score a celebrated local victory.

“I just need to win a Grafton Cup now,” Shelton said proudly.

“That’s the next one.”