Dead-Heat in Thrilling Irish St. Leger

Jukebox Jury and Duncan provided a scintillating finish to the $296,000 Irish Field St. Leger (Ire-I), hitting the wire together to dead-heat in the last Irish classic race of the season Sept. 10.

Duncan, a 6-year-old gelding by Dalakhani, provided trainer John Gosden with a classic double on the day. Thirty minutes prior to the Curragh classic, the trainer’s Masked Marvel stormed home to capture the Ladbrokes St. Leger (Eng-I) at Doncaster by three lengths.

Most of the pre-race attention fell upon Aidan O’Brien’s Fame And Glory, the impressive winner of the Gold Cup (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot in June. As a result, the 5-year-old horse was sent off as the heavy 6-5 favorite in the field of six.

Jukebox Jury went to the lead immediately after the start, and jockey Johnny Murtagh allowed the son of Montjeu to set an easy pace through the early going. Eddie Ahern had Duncan tracking them from second, as Fame And Glory galloped along in third.

The order remained the same throughout the early stages of the race, as Jukebox Jury continued to have things his own way on the front end. Duncan began to edge a bit closer to the longtime leader with five furlongs left to run.

As the field entered the home straight, Duncan drew alongside Jukebox Jury and the two warriors began a protracted duel to the wire. At the finish the two were inseparable, crossing the line in a dead-heat.

Red Cadeaux finished third, one length further back. Fame And Glory was never a factor and faded to fourth, finishing 22 lengths behind the winning duo. The final time for the 14-furlong contest was 3:08.01 over a course listed as yielding to soft.

Mark Johnston trains Jukebox Jury for owner Alan Spence. The 5-year-old grey horse was bred in Ireland by Paul Nataf and is out of Mare Aux Fees, a winning daughter of Kenmare. It was the second group I victory for Jukebox Jury, who also won the Preis von Europa (Ger-I) in 2009.

Duncan, who races as a homebred for Normandie Stud, is out of the stakes winning Danehill mare, Dolores. He is a half brother to Doncaster Cup (Eng-II) winner, Samuel (by Sakhee).

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