Jukebox and Duncan dead-heat in Irish Leger
Report: Curragh, Saturday
The Irish Field St Leger (Group 1) 1m6f, 3yo+
TRAINER John Gosden recorded an outstanding St Leger double, although he had to share the honours at the Curragh as Duncan dead-heated with Jukebox Jury in a thrilling battle to the line.
Masked Marvel had romped to victory in the oldest Classic at Doncaster but just over half an hour later the result of the Irish equivalent was less clear cut. The game Mark Johnston-trained Jukebox Jury had attempted to hold off Duncan and Eddie Ahern from the top of the straight, but both horses crossed the line locked together.
Those who had backed the 8-13 favourite Fame And Glory knew their fate a long way out, as Aidan O'Brien's runner failed to fire and finished well beaten.
From the off, Johnny Murtagh had set the tempo on globetrotter Jukebox Jury, with Duncan just behind in second. Fame And Glory raced third for Jamie Spencer, with Fictional Account and Red Cadeaux next.
With five furlongs left Eddie Ahern moved Duncan closer and began to niggle Jukebox Jury for the lead. Fame And Glory began to feel the pinch for Spencer rounding the final turn.
In the home straight the race developed into a straight fight between Murtagh and Ahern, with Red Cadeaux moving into a well-beaten third.
It appeared that Murtagh's mount was holding on until the very last strides, when joined by Ahern and Duncan, to give trainer John Gosden his second Group 1 of the afternoon.
Eddie Ahern: first Classic winPICTURE: Edward Whitaker
Duncan's victory also gave Ahern his first Classic success, and the jockey said: "In the first part of the race I concentrated on getting my horse relaxed. I took on Jukebox Jury early in the straight and it was a right ding-dong battle. My fella lent on the other horse a little bit but there as a strong headwind to be fair."
Johnny Murtagh was pleased to hear that Jukebox Jury had shared the spoils, saying: "He's a typical Mark Johnston horse and really stuck his head out. Fair play to both horses, we raced from a long way out and it was a fair result."
Trainer Mark Johnston's wife added that Jukebox Jury could be back on his travels with the Melbourne Cup a possibility.
Jamie Spencer, when asked about the lacklustre run of Fame And Glory said: "I was never travelling at any stage."