Jukebox Duke hopes to play a winning tune 

Racing News


Angle Park will host a terrific night of racing on Thursday, with the 2024 Howard Ashton decider set to take centre stage.

The Group 3 race, which is open to South Australian bred chasers that are whelped between January and June of 2022, will hold a fantastic first prize of $25,000 as part of a $37,500 final. 

A three-week series which has progressed from six heats into three semi-finals and will now culminate to one big grand final on Thursday with a host of South Australian chasers hoping to take home the lucrative prize. 

Semi-final winners Zinfandel Evie, Victa Chrissy and Yoda Lady will start likely favourites for the race with the terrific form that they bring into it but Tony Hinrichsen will be hoping to spring an upset with his charger Jukebox Duke, who has really found his mojo in recent starts. 

The son of Zipping Garth and Mercedes Monelli has finished no worse than fifth at his last 12 starts, for which he has won six of them. The recent form has come as no real surprise to Hinrichsen, who always believed in his dogs’ ability.

“He’s always had the ability I thought, he’s probably four or five lengths off being a really good dog, but he’s only two and a half years old,” Hinrichsen said.

“He’s always had some ability as does his sister (Zip Along Lulu). He just really wants to race now, you get him out the kennels and he just wants to go.”

Jukebox Duke won his heat with an impressive 30.90 effort off box one, before lining up again in box one for his semi-final effort, where he found some bother in the run before finishing third in 30.89.

“The heat win was pretty good. The semi last week, he just missed it half a length out of the boxes and then Victa Chrissy cut him off on the line, so I thought he was unlucky really. He made up ground down the back,” Hinrichsen said. 

It’s been a quiet week for Jukebox Duke, who is following his normal week to week routine, with Hinrichsen hoping to have him ready to produce his best come Thursday night.

“Last week I gave him a run up the straight Monday morning and then I didn’t know if that affected his run last Thursday, but this week I've done nothing with him, I’ve gone back to what I normally do with him.” said Hinrichsen.

In quite the tale of mathematical improbability, Jukebox Duke has drawn box one again which will make Thursday four consecutive starts from the coveted box one draw. 

Whilst it is a good draw, he will have the dilemma of having two fast beginners drawn outside, who are both eager to get to the rails. Hinrichsen is stoked with the draw and is just hoping that Jukebox Duke can put it to good use and avoid early trouble.

“I’m rapt to draw box one! That was crazy, he’s had it four times in a row,” said Hinrichsen.

“I think that if he can jump this week, he will push through like he does on the first corner and then anything can happen after that. There's pace outside with Yoda Lady and Zinfandel Evie. Yoda Lady can miss it a little bit and then we’ve got to hope that Zinfandel Evie can miss it by a little bit so he can push her out, then they’ve got to catch him!”

When asked who the main danger was for the race, Hinrichsen was quick to point out the strength of the two dogs that are drawn outside of his chaser.

“One of those two (Yoda Lady & Zinfandel Evie), Zinfandel Evie because she gets out by so much and then it’s hard to catch her, but then with Yoda Lady, she’s won five in a row and is just flying. I think it’s out of those two by far, I’ve just got to hope that they can mess each other up,” said Hinrichsen.

On what is a cracking card of racing, the night will also see two heats of the 2024 Shane McQueen series, an event staged over the 595m distance. Despite only having two heats, they are full of quality, with top quality performers such as Fantastic Spike, Kai Bale and last year’s winner Dash Of Blue set to strut their stuff and attempt to earn their way to the final next week.

Racing gets underway at 6:33pm on Thursday,

Best Bets: 
Fantastic Spike (Race 4, Number 8)
Magical Mystic (Race 5, Number 6)