Jukebox completes Caulfield tune up for Coolmore Stud Stakes

Top colt Jukebox
Jukebox ridden by Craig Williams wins Inglis Premier at Caulfield Racecourse on February 04, 2017 in Caulfield, Australia. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

TRAINER Aaron Purcell admitted that star galloper Jukebox “needed” its run in Blue Sapphire Stakes to prepare for an assault on the Coolmore Stud Stakes looms in a fortnight’s time.

Jumping from the wide barrier, Jukebox found its way into fourth, but was camped wide for a lot of the journey, and while the horse loomed as a winning hope at the 200m mark, when the eventual winner Formality ($5.60 at William Hill) quickened in the latter stages of the race the colt failed to match strides.

Jukebox ($1.60 at Sportsbet) finished ahead of Lone Eagle, which returned $6.50 to Crownbet clients.

Aaron Purcell said his star three-year-old had the ability to take the race out, but an unfavourable barrier draw and a reluctance to settle mid-race proved too difficult to overcome.

“He just raced a little bit keenly,” the trainer said.

“It’s been a little bit of a gap between his last run and today, and from the wide gate he probably didn’t get the cover he needed and just raced a little bit strong.

“Had he drawn a gate or sat a little bit better he probably would have got the result today.”

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The trainer is still optimistic of a strong performance in the Coolmore Stud Stakes, where Jukebox is an $8 chance at Sportsbet.

“We’ll push on towards the three-year-old’s group one on Derby Day, and with that run under his belt he should be pretty spot on for two week’s time.”

It has been a tumultuous time for the horse given it was a member of the Ciaron Maher stable, who has been banned from racing for six months.

The Blue Sapphire run was the first under the Purcell racing banner, and just the second run back since its brilliant win in the Group Three Vain Stakes.

Purcell is adamant Jukebox on target to win its maiden group one title.

“We definitely thought this race would bring him on for the Coolmore on Derby Day, and the way he raced today it looked like he needed it.

“I think we’re headed the right way and I think he’ll run a good race in two week’s time.”

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