First starter Jukebox has established himself as a genuine player for the Group 1 $1.5m Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 25 after scoring a debut win at Geelong today.
The Ciaron Maher trained Jukebox was never in doubt of losing after Craig Williams eased him to the outside at the top of the straight before saluting in the 2yo Maiden Plate (1100m).
Williams only had to slightly release the brakes and the $2.50 favourite went on to score a comfortable one and a quarter lengths win over I’ll Have A Bit ($5.50) who was doing his best work at the finish.
The highly experienced Williams was rewarded for cutting his Christmas holiday short and was very impressed with the win and can see the Snitzel colt developing further as he heads towards the Blue Diamond Stakes.
“I cut my holiday short to ride two really nice two-year-olds and he was definitely well worth it and so was the filly (Catchy) on Saturday,’’ Williams said.
‘’The stable has a big opinion of him and I’ve had a sit on him and I know he’s got plenty of ability and so it’s nice to see him go to the races and be very professional and do everything well.’’
Williams will have plenty of youngsters to choose from for the Blue Diamond Stakes and was also impressed with the Lindsay Park trained filly Catchy whom he rode to victory last Saturday in the $80,000 Peter Siggins 2yo Plate (1100m) at Caulfield.
The Geelong track today was rated a Good 4 but Williams said that it was patchy in certain sections but Jukebox was able to handle the uneven surface well.
‘’The track is a bit patchy – on and off – and he was coming off the bridle through that type of ground but in the end he showed his class without having too much pressure and he does give me a feel that If I ask him for more, he’s going to give me a sharp response,” Williams said.
‘’He’s a horse with a lot of potential and very good ability.’’
Today’s win earned Jukebox $12,650 but he still has a long way to go to reclaim the $200,000 that his connection forked out for him at the 2016 Inglis Melbourne Yearling Sales.
Jukebox was one of 198 two year olds left in Blue Diamond Stakes contention after the second acceptances were taken on Tuesday with the next round of acceptances due at 12 noon on Tuesday January 31, 2017.