Jukebox Jury has been a tremendous standard bearer for the remarkable Middleham stables of Mark Johnston over the last few season and once again landed a great success when battling every step of the way to force a dead-heat with John Gosden’s Duncan in a fabulous race for the Group 1Irish Field St Leger at the Curragh on Saturday, writes Elliot Slater.
Although he continues to send out a remarkable stream of winners every term Johnston hasn’t had too many top grade successes in recent years, but the Tony Spence-owned grey has always come up with goods and was winning his seventh group race in the last four seasons. Positively ridden by Johnny Murtagh, the five-year-old son of Montjeu set out to make all the running in the noted stamina test for older horses and had the entire field on the stretch with the exception of Duncan as they flashed past the two furlong from home marker. From there to the finishing post there was never more than a head between the pair and as they went by the judge it was impossible with the naked eye to separate the two brave stayers. Those following the horseracing betting will have been impressed by their efforts.
After a long wait, the judged announced that it was a dead-heat, a remarkable result in a classic contest, but one which both horses richly deserved. No one following the Betfair horse tips would have predicted the result. A winner of the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes as a juvenile, Jukebox Jury won three pattern races at three, including the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Europe at Cologne in September 2009. As a four-year-old he maintained the sequence in winning Newmarket’s Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes, and this term has appeared better than ever in winning the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay at Deauville before landing Saturday’s Irish St Leger in such sensational fashion.
A credit to his trainer, it will be a big surprise if the popular stayer isn’t kept in training next season.