Trainer Ciaron Maher has declared Jukebox ready for ‘The Big Dance’ after coming through a perfect preparation in the lead up to the Group 1 $1.5m Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Jukebox is the winner of his two race starts and even though Maher admits that the Snitzel colt has yet to come up against some quality opposition, he is certain that he will be up to the task on the weekend.
“He is yet to be tested. He has had two soft runs leading into his big dance,” Maher told Moody On The Mic.
“In terms of preparation wise, I couldn’t be happier with him leading into his grand final.”
“He hasn’t really been under pressure yet but he does give that impression.”
“Craig (Williams) thought he had more to give in both starts and he hasn’t really raced the A-graders but he’s done it in very good style and I wouldn’t swap him leading into the race.
“He’s had two soft runs and in terms of preparing a horse for its target race then he’s had two perfect lead-up runs and his preparation couldn’t have gone any better.”
Luke Nolen takes over on Jukebox in the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes from Craig Williams who rode him to victory in an 1100m Geelong 2yo Maiden on January 12 and in the Restricted Listed $250,000 Inglis Premier (1200m) at Caulfield on February 4.
Williams has elected to stick with the Lindsay Park trained Catchy after partnering the filly to three wins from three starts in a 1000m Moonee Valley 2yo Plate on December 9, an 1100m 2yo Plate at Caulfield on January 7 and in the Group 2 $200,000 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) for the fillies at Caulfield on February 11.
While Catchy was out of luck at the barrier draw for the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes, coming up with barrier thirteen in the sixteen horse field plus one emergency, she still remains at the top of the market order at Ladbrokes.com.au at $5.
Jukebox had better luck with the four marble coming out of the barrel and is now rated an $8 chance in a very congested top of the market order that sees six runners under the $10 mark.
Maher is very happy with Jukebox’s barrier draw and can see Luke Nolen giving the Snitzel colt the perfect run from gate four.
“Pretty happy with him” Maher said.
“Four is perfect. It is an even lot of horses I reckon it would be an advantage to posy up handily in the one one.”
Pressuring Catchy for favouritism is her stablemate Tulip (barrier 8) and the Team Snowden trained Pariah (barrier 11) who were both marked at $6.50 on Wednesday afternoon.
Williams was also aboard Tulip for her two race starts to date, a win in a 1000m Moonee Valley 2yo Plate and a second to Limestone in the Group 3 $150,000 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) for the fillies at Caulfield on January 26, but will be ridden by Damien Oliver in the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes.