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Jukebox Jive fends off Mullins team to take November Handicap

Sun 3 Nov 2019

Jukebox Jive finished with a flourish to make a winning stable debut for Gavin Cromwell in the Daragh Fitzpatrick & Colm White Local Bookmakers November Handicap at Naas.

A fiercely competitive field of 16 runners went to post for the 100,000 euro feature on the final day of the Irish Flat turf season, with Willie Mullins saddling a formidable squad of eight.

The Closutton octet included Cesarewitch winner Stratum and the Irish Cesarewitch heroine Royal Illusion, but it was Buildmeupbuttercup who looked set to strike gold for the Mullins team after travelling powerfully to the front end in the hands of Colin Keane.

However, Jukebox Jive – winless in his last 15 starts for Anthony Honeyball and Jamie Osborne combined – refused to yield and saw off Buildmeupbuttercup by a shade under two lengths under 3lb claimer Sean Davis.

Cromwell said: “He appreciated that ground more than he did in Dubai. Since I’ve got him, I thought he was crying out for soft ground.

“I’ve only had him about five weeks, but I thought he’d run a big race.

“He won a juvenile hurdle first time out and was bought to go hurdling. We said that we would give this a crack first. It’s great, because we were beaten a short-head in this race with Highland Fling two years ago.”

The Matthew Smith-trained Warnaq was an emphatic winner of the Listed Finale Stakes.

Ridden by Robbie Colgan, the 7-2 shot had victory sewn up early in the straight and passed the post two and a quarter lengths clear of Quote, with 3-1 favourite Solage a well-beaten third.

Smith said: “I’m delighted, because she was knocking on the door in a couple of Listed races, and it’s nice to eventually get her head in front. That’s my first Listed winner.

“We knew with the rain that came she would have a great chance, because she really loves that ground and gallops and gallops. She’s a tough old filly who tries her heart out.

“She loves it here, and at Navan – she’s won here on this day for three years in a row now. Robbie was very good on her as well.

“There is a Listed race at Doncaster next Saturday I have given her an entry for. We’ll see how she is and what the ground is like.”

On the day he was officially crowned champion jockey for the second time, Donnacha O’Brien teamed up with his father Aidan to win the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden with 6-4 joint-favourite Nobel Prize.

The other joint-favourite Chiricahua – ridden by O’Brien’s title rival Colin Keane – was just a head behind in second.

“He’s a nice, straightforward horse and will be a lovely middle-distance type next year,” said the winning jockey.

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