CIARON Maher was confident about the chances of Jukebox when we spoke to him earlier this week, and that confidence was well placed on Saturday.
The two-year-old colt lined up in the $250,000 Inglis Premier at Caulfield and the result never looked in doubt once it hit the lead in the home straight.
The son of Snitzel was well-backed in the betting at $2.40 and it’s now into $10 at Sportsbet.com.au for the Blue Diamond Stakes in three weeks time.
“He’s sort of always been our benchmark two-year-old. He’s very professional and very natural,” Maher said.
“It’s three weeks into the Blue Diamond now so it’s good spacing.”
Its win at Geelong had punters launching into the Blue Diamond market and all the signs show that Jukebox has only improved since its debut run.
“He’s improved fitness wise out of his first run, but I still think there’s a bit of improvement there also,” Maher said.
“He had a beautiful run today, he relaxed and quickened up nicely.
“He’s a lovely colt, he’s going the right way.”
Jukebox gave Craig Williams his second success of the day after saluting aboard Hot Ruby in the opening race and Williams said the two-year-old felt like the real deal on Saturday.
“He was a bit different today. He definitely understood what race one was in his victory at Geelong and he towed me around today,” Williams said.
“He’s really woken up, tactically good today. In his action, he’s moved better today than what he did first time out.
“He has been well-placed, well handled and he has a big future.”
Williams settle Jukebox in the box seat, but his job was made easier when the well-favoured Perast drifted off the bend. That allowed Williams to take the rails run and Jukebox did the rest for an impressive two-length victory.
“I was actually going to get there (the lead) too early. I was happy to go back to the rail and ride him for a bit of luck,” Williams said.
“Steve (Baster) had to struggle with his horse getting around the bend…I just had to make sure we got in there without his horse changing course.
“I asked him a fair way out and he was good. He feels like he’s going to improve and most important he felt good in his action.”
Williams believes Jukebox is on target for the Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield on February 25.
“If he pulls up healthy and well tomorrow and eats up, he’s right on target,” Williams said.
“It’s a big result for Ciaron Maher who won one of our biggest handicaps (2016 Caulfield Cup with Jameka) last year and now he’s got one of the main chances going into our first group one two-year-old in the new season.”