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 tofire 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 until the very last strides, when joined by Ahern and Duncan, to give trainer John Gosden his second Group 1 of the afternoon.
THE Coventry Stakes winner Power gave Aidan O’Brien an eighth National Stakes victory as the 11-4 shot narrowly held off the challenge of Futurity Stakes winner and 5-2 favourite Dragon Pulse to land his first Group 1 under Seamie Heffernan.
Pacemaker David Livingston was third with Furner’s Green an eyecatching fourth to give Ballydoyle first, third and fourth places from their four runners
It was the winner’s third victory from four starts at the track and Paddy Power left him unchanged at 10-1 for next year’s 2,000 Guineas, with the Blenheim Stakes victor earlier on the card, Born To Sea, their new 6-1 favourite.
As has been the case all season the son of Oasis Dream had to show his battling qualities to best effect here. After a short-head verdict went his way in the Marble Hill Stakes in May as well as his neck victory at Royal Ascot in the Coventry, it was another close-run thing in this 7f Group 1.
The tatics used on pacemaker David Livingston and his experienced rider Pat Smullen were key as they set a good tempo – not going too fast – and with Power following Seamie Heffernan kicked for home first, with the head start over the closing Dragon Pulse proving decisive as O’Brien’s charge held on for a half-length verdict.
“I picked it up today when I wanted to. I got it right today, I didn’t get it right the last day,” said Heffernan, referring to the pair’s defeat in the Phoenix Stakes last time out.
“He did it well in the end, he’s tough. The ground is probably slow enough for him although it’s nice soft ground. He’s strong and genuine as well. He trains well at home and he came on a good bit for his defeat here the last day.”
Jessica Harrington, who along with the runner-up’s jockey Fran Berry, was trying to win this race for a second year in a row, and afterwards she was thrilled with Dragon Pulse’s effort.
“Brilliant run,” she said. “Fran said he was still a little bit green because he came there almost travelling better than the winner but he was just a little bit more battle hardened than our fellow.
“That to me proves he’sa good horse. He’ll obviously stay a mile. Whether he’s done enough for this season I don’t know.”
Both the first and second are fine prospects for the autumn and next season, but it was the runof O’Brien’s Furner’s Green that really caught the eye. Colm O’Donoghue’s mount put his poor showing in the Acomb at York last month right behind him as he stayed on really well from out the back, making up more ground than anything, and he would have been third in another stride.
BORN TO SEA was catapulted to the head of the markets for next season’s Classics after a taking performance on debut in the Listed Blenheim Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday
Half-brother to the great Sea The Stars, the juvenile won by a length and a half, and was made new favourite for the 2,000 Guineas by Paddy Power at 6-1, although William Hill were more circumspect, going 12-1 (from 33).
For the Derby, the colt is now a general 16-1 chance, joining Camelot at the head of the market with most firms.
Johnny Murtagh had to wait to make his move in the race, but once switched to the outside, the 5-2 favourite won well.
Trainer Oxx said: “The main objective was to let him have a nice experience today. It was a good performance to win a Listed race on his first run.
“He’s alot more precocious than his brother [Sea The Stars] you could nearly have run him in April. The plan was to run in July but he got sore shins.
“He did very well to come off the pace and quicken up the way he did as he was quite green. I’m not expecting him to be his brother again but if we win something nice that’s great.”
When asked about future plans, Oxx added: “He’ll run next in the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown at the end of October. That will be his only other run this year/