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Jukebox out to press Blue Diamond claims

Promising colt Jukebox will be out to cement his place in this month’s Group One Blue Diamond Stakes when he bids to remain unbeaten in the $250,000 Inglis Premier at Caulfield.

The Ciaron Maher-trained colt emerged as a Blue Diamond contender with his comfortable 1-1/4 length debut win in a maiden at Geelong on January 12 and will be out to clinch a berth in the $1.5 million race at his second start on Saturday.

The Inglis Premier is a sales-restricted race and previously only the winner’s prize money has counted towards the Blue Diamond ballot.

But this year the prize money earned by the top three placegetters will count.

Jukebox is at $15 in the TAB’s market for the Blue Diamond on February 25 and headlines a field of 10 for the Inglis Premier.

“Ciaron has always liked him,” Maher’s assistant trainer David Eustace said.

“He bought him at the Melbourne Premier Sale last year and just thought he was a real natural.

“He’s a very athletic, clear-winded horse and doesn’t require much work and that’s what he sort of loved about him. He’s never really had to teach him anything.

“I’ll be very disappointed if he didn’t finish in the top three on Saturday and get the necessary prize money to get into the Diamond.”

Eustace said the Blue Diamond had been a long-range target for the colt and the timing of Saturday’s race fitted in nicely.

“Really we just wanted to be able to space his runs a bit,” he said.

“We didn’t feel he would need any more than a maiden and one more. This way he goes three weeks and then three weeks. The timing is just ideal.

“It allows for any little hiccups if he didn’t come out of his Geelong race that well or he didn’t come out of the Inglis race that well, then it just gives you that bit more time.”

The Inglis Premier is one of two juvenile races on Saturday’s program along with the Group Three Chairman’s Stakes (1000m).

The Chairman’s was won emphatically by Extreme Choice on his way to Blue Diamond glory a year ago and this year features a field of nine headlined by Maribyrnong Plate winner Aspect and impressive Werribee debut winner Formality.

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