Finally the jury’s out, MADAM JUROR, the five-year-old daughter of the stallion Tickets, was found guilty of recording her maiden win at the Newcastle Jockey Club’s meeting held on Saturday 21st October 2017.
It was a case of “Lucky For Some” as MADAM JUROR was having her thirteenth race start. The mare had been stepped up in distance in her previous five runs this preparation and the connections were hoping that the 2350 metres distance of the Joanne McLean Memorial Maiden Plate would suit.
The course proper was rated a Soft 5, a track condition that MADAM JUROR had been placed on before. The movable rail was moved out 9 metres. Mitchell Bell, having his first ride on the mare, was declared as the rider and the pair had drawn barrier four out of a possible seven. The betting had MADAM JUROR firming in the market $9.00 into $5.50.
The barriers opened and immediately MADAM JUROR was taken hold of and as a result settled at the rear of the field. The $1.75 favourite, Waterhouse and Bott-trained Antonio’s Pride had taken up the role of frontrunner and was setting a solid pace.
By the time the field had reached the mile marker, MADAM JUROR was almost eleven lengths off the lead, sharing last. The positioning remained the same until nearing the 1400 metres post when Mitchell upped the tempo a little reducing the margin to the front running Antonio’s Pride to seven lengths.
With the leader still getting along at a “decent clip”, the rest of the field were beginning to be asked to up their rating in order to gain ground on the leading bunch. On passed the 600 metres and Mitchell began urging MADAM JUROR along … the margin was now four lengths.
Under that more vigorous riding, Mitchell and his horse had made good ground along the inside rail. Once balanced up with 400 metres left to run, it was down to the serious end of the business at hand.
MADAM JUROR was now in third position, three lengths from the lead, which was still held by Antonio’s Pride with Fencourt throwing down the gauntlet. With the winning post firmly in sight, Mitchell was maintaining his rhythm and gradually closing on the two horses in front.
For one moment, with 200 metres left to go and two lengths behind, it looked like MADAM JUROR might not catch the leaders. Antonio’s Pride, under the hard riding of Blake Spriggs, had rallied and had the challenging Fencourt covered.
It was 50 metres out and a length and a half back when MADAM JUROR lifted again stride by stride reducing the gap. Digging deep she drew level within the shadows of the post and went on to win by half a head. The time for the race 2:31.12 … a new record.
A truly “will to win” performance by MADAM JUROR and what about the ride from Mitchell Bell … WOW !!!. A grand training performance by the Singleton Racing Team in getting her to the winners’ stall.
Huge congratulations to the owners, including breeders Wal and Anne Lanham (now enjoying life on the Sunshine Coast), you should be over the moon at such a superb effort from your horse.