|Jury accepts the Melbourne Cup challenge|
Mark Johnston's Jukebox Jury, a tremendously game dead-heater with the now retired Duncan in the Group 1 Irish Field St Leger at the Curragh, has been given the green light to bid for another top level prize on the opposite side of the world, the Melbourne Cup, set to be run at Flemington on November 5, writes Elliot Slater.
The five-year-old son of Montjeu made just about every yard of the running in the one-mile-six-furlong Irish classic and rallied in the gamest possible fashion to hold Duncan in a race to remember that brought the house down at Ireland's premier venue and after which connections of Duncan decided he couldn't possibly better the performance and pensioned him off with immediate effect.
After weighing up all the options Johnston has decided that with his stayer in the form of his life now is the time to send the Tony Spence-owned entire to Australia where he has been allotted nine stone in the handicap, just 2lbs below the top weight, last year's French-trained winner, Americain. The horse racing betting suggests he will be in with a shout. A horse who is an experienced traveller and has the high cruising speed that should enable him to establish a good position early on in the world's most valuable two-mile handicaps, Jukebox Jury began this term winning the listed Fred Archer Stakes at Newmarket in June after 11 months on the sidelines.
Beaten only half-a-length into third in the Group 3 Glorious Stakes at Goodwood a month later behind another Melbourne Cup candidate Drunken Sailor, the Middleham-trained entire then travelled to Deauville where he proved three-lengths too good for the smart French stayer Kasbah Bliss in the Group 2 Darley Prix Kergorlay, before his sterling effort in the Irish St Leger. However, the horseracing tips indicate he will be up against some top class opponents in the Melbourne Cup.
A best priced 25/1 shot for 'the race that stops a nation' Jukebox Jury will certainly be one of the leading overseas contenders for the coveted international event.