The idiom which suggests that Death and Taxes are the only certainties in life may now need to be reviewed following the running of today's $128,000, Group 3, MRC Neds Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield in Melbourne. Won by a rising 10-year-old sprinter remarkably posting his 19th career victory, the saying should arguably now read: Death, Taxes and Jungle Edge in the wet!
Having the 82nd start of his astonishing career, Jungle Edge added the John Monash to his exceptional record and never looked likely to do anything otherwise.
Positioned on the shoulder of race leader Tavisan (NZ) until the top of the Caulfield straight, the iconic Victorian sprinter took charge of the contest — with the very able assistance of Ms Jade Darose — soon after turning for home and proceeded to do what he does better than the vast majority of horses in the country. That being, doing whatever is necessary to get home first in a race contested on any sort of rain-affected surface.
Presented with the opportunity to enhance one of the all-time great wet-track reputations in Australian racing, Jungle Edge posted Heavy track win No. 8 when withstanding the late challenge of Viridine (by Poet's Voice) in second, with I Am Someone (by Onemorenomore) doing best of the remaining six starters for third.
Jungle Edge and Jade Darose are too smart for the chasing Viridine and Damien Oliver, picture Racing Photos
Such is the manner of Jungle Edge's consistency and longevity, the 9-year-old son of Dubawi enjoys a legion of fans. However, there's arguably none more adoring than the galloper's trainer Mick Bell.
Interviewed immediately after Jungle Edge's latest black-type victory, Bell made no secret of his appreciation for the evergreen galloper.
“I’m just in awe of that horse, in absolute awe,” claimed Bell.
“It did look as though he’d go very well today, but they’ve still got to do it and he always delivers. I actually think there’ll be hundreds of people buying takeaway tonight because of Jungle Edge.
“I was glad that Jade was on it, not another jockey that I won’t mention. She’s always had a relationship with him because she’s ridden trackwork on him almost from five years ago when I had [got] it.
“Because she didn’t get a chance to ride him when he was still going through the grades, after that it made it hard to put her on. She took it on the chin, got a bit cross a couple of times when she thought I might’ve been able to put her on and didn’t. It’s just worked out terrific. She’s a very hard worker Jade, and she deserves all the success.”
Asked if the Bletchingly Stakes was the next race in line for Jungle Edge, Bell's reply should have come as little surprise: “That’ll depend on the weather.
“This is three times now that he’s come off a six week break and with a little trial. But you can’t order the weather, so that claim would've gone out the window if it was a Good 4 here today. So we’ll see how he pulls up and if it’s a heavy track, then we will probably run.”
Bell also has his sights on even much bigger fish to fry.
“I’d still like to have a crack at The Everest. I think the ATC should give us a slot and show that the race isn’t just for billionaires. That it’s for everyone.
“If he runs in it he won’t run last, that’s for sure. And if it was a heavy track at Randwick, who knows what he’d do?
“The last time he ran up there in the Sydney Stakes on the same day, him and Pierata ran two seconds faster than The Everest. So I don’t know what you’ve got to do? He has won at Randwick, too.
“At the moment we’re all [Victorians] lepers anyway. We’re not allowed to go there.
“Hopefully it is still raining in two weeks time and we’ll give that [the Bletchingly] a go, too.”
Bell concluded: “I’m so happy. I’d just like to thank all the well-wishers. There’s been a lot of people on the journey with us. It’s been fantastic.”
Naturally, winning rider Jade Darose was equally elated by the win.
“I’m just so rapt,” admitted Darose. “He’s been such a good horse and to finally ride him — he’s going as good as ever.
“I’m rapt for Mick and all the owners. Everyone has been awesome.
“I thought I was travelling really well. You’re still always waiting for something to pick him up. I could hear them coming, but he’s just such a good wet-tracker.
“I think that would be a dream if we could get a run [in The Everest]. That would be amazing. I’m sure if he’s not in that he’ll be in something on the day. Whenever it rains, Mick will be somewhere.”
Inevitably well supported on any form of rain-affected track, Jungle Edge started the John Monash as the $2.60 favourite ahead of runner-up Viridine at $3.10. Third placegetter I Am Someone was returned at an SP of $8.50.
Winning time of the race was 1m05.00s (Heavy 8).
Official margins ¾L x 1½L.
Trained out of Cranbourne by Bell, Jungle Edge is raced by Mr I D Dunkley, Mrs M D Strickland, Mr G K Wilson, Mrs J I Wilson, Mrs B J Bell, Mr P J Bow, Mrs J A Hayes, Mr J A Hayes, Mr J M Conroy, Mr B A Conroy, Mr P Orlandi, Mr I Daire, Mr M A Bell, Mr M J Holt & Mrs Y I Knowles and has now amassed $1,750,710 in earnings.