The 2017 JJ Atkins Form Guide is essential reading for punters and racing fans ahead of the Group 1 feature race for two-year-olds at Doomben on Saturday afternoon.
Fourteen juveniles remain in contention for the major prize following Friday’s scratching of leading contender Qiji Phoenix and we have analysed every horse in detail, in order to help you find the JJ Atkins winner.
Kiwi raider Melody Belle is set to start a clear race favourite in JJ Atkins betting markets and should prove extremely tough to beat.
Taking Aim has returned to racing in excellent form this season and if he has improved again, is a live chance in the 2017 JJ Atkins. Returned to the paddock after failing to fire and eleventh in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) on February 25th, the Choisir colt resuming for a smart win in the Group 3 Ken Russell Memorial (1200m) on May 6th, before finishing second behind Melody Belle in the Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) a fortnight ago, albeit by five lengths. The colt will need to show some early speed to find the pace from barrier 13, but he is clearly one of the class horses in this field.
Tangled has displayed outstanding ability through his short and impressive racing career, but will be tested at a mile for the first time in the JJ Atkins. The Snitzel colt was a strong and consistent performer through several minor Sydney sprints early this season, before arriving in Brisbane for a smart win in the Group 2 Champagne Classic (1200m) four weeks ago. While luckless in transit and failing to run on in the BRC Sires’ Produce, Tangled should find clearer running if he shows early speed from the rails draw and has the notable advantage of Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle.
Leading local Capital Gain has found competitive form this time and would not look out of place winning the JJ Atkins. Second in the Listed Dalrello Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm on April 29th, the Ad Valorem gelding again placed second behind in a Sunshine Coast race over 1400m on May 14th before running fifth in the BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes last time out. Capital Gain could receive the run of the race from barrier 5 and will be ridden by veteran local Jim Byrne.
Eminent’s form appears to have tailed off in recent starts and he would have to improve tenfold to win the JJ Atkins. Fresh, the Choisir colt won a part of Brisbane sprints through February and March, but he has finished seventh in the Ken Russell Memorial and thirteenth in the BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes most recently. He is drawn to get a good run just behind the pace from barrier 3, but it’s tough to know what he will be capable of when the field straightens.
Pierata will carry plenty of benefit into the JJ Atkins and is set to lay a great account for himself in the Group 1 feature race. Breaking through for a maiden race win in the Light Horse Brigade Maiden Plate (1200m) on April 25th, the Pierro colt arrived in Brisbane for a smart third in the BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes and appears as though he’ll relish a step up to a mile. Corey Brown will take the ride and Pierata is another horse who will need to show early speed to take a forward position from his wide draw.
Mishani Bullitt failed to fire at his last start, but is a chance at odds if that run is forgiven. Second in a Sunshine coast minor over 1200m first-up on April 30th, the Show A Heart gelding flew home to win the Monaco Result Sacred Elixir Plate (1400m) in his only other start prior to the BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes. Whether or not he is up to this class will be seen on Saturday.
Charlie Chap is probably being thrown in the deep end on Saturday, but there’s things to like about his preparation so far this time and he could run a cheeky race from his inside draw. Storming home from the tail of the field in the Clarendon Stakes (1300m) on April 29th, the Benfica gelding again ran on well for third in the John Miller Hall Of Fame (1200m), but failed to fire at his last star. Charlie Chap will be suited to this race if it is run at a genuine tempo from the outset and will be given every chance by Damian Browne.
Qiji Phoenix – SCRATCHED
Kiwi raider Qiji Phoenix was luckless in running before finishing seventh in the BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes and will relish a step up to 1600m and a second crack at Australian racing. A smart winner on debut at Te Rapa in March, the Not A Single Doubt colt repeated the effort in the Ellerslie Jewellers 2YO Plate (1300m), before making a successful transition to black type company with a smart win in the Listed Champagne Stakes (1600m) on April 22nd. While charged with overcoming the outside barrier, the horse should prove extremely tough to beat in the JJ Atkins.
Up Trumpz has won each of his two most recent starts, but faces a big step up in class into this JJ Atkins field and it is tough to see how he will fare. A comfortable winner of the Book Your Wedding At The MTC Handicap (1200m) at Wagga on May 19th, the Zariz gelding repeated the effort in the Lamont Classic (1300m) on June 2nd. He is yet to contest a race over 1300m and could get lost from his wide draw.
Sambro has been strong and consistent this time in and appears to be a horse that could find his best over a mile. Third in a Warwick Farm minor over 1300m on May 3rd, the Fastnet Rock colt stormed home to beat a classy field in the TAB Rewards Plate (1400m) on May 14th, before running third in the Seven News Plate (1400m) a fortnight ago. Sambro will be partnered by Tommy Berry and has plenty of upside.
Lord Cecil finished sixth in the Seven News Plate at his last start and probably faces too much of a task in winning the JJ Atkins on Saturday. The Animal Kingdom gelding debuted for a smart win at Muswellbrook in April, before running a credible third in the Ken Russell Memorial in what was his only other start prior to the Seven News Plate.
Magnufighter has steadily built to the task this time in and is not without a chance of an upset top three finish in the JJ Atkins, with appropriate luck. The Magnus colt finished fifth in the Listed Oxlade Stakes (1200m) on May 20th, before running third in the Listed The Phoenix (1350m) last time out. He clearly faces a big step up in class, but he has tracked through the grades well and has the notable advantage of leading hoop Jeff Lloyd in the saddle.
Undoubtedly the horse to beat in the JJ Atkins field, Melody Belle stormed home to win the BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes by five lengths last time out and should simply be too good for her rivals on Saturday. Steadily building to the task through summer before winning the famed Listed Karaka Millions (1200m) at Ellerslie, the Commands filly returned to racing to win the Group 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m), in her only other start prior to the BRC Sires’ Produce. Drawn ideally, weighted well as a filly and with Opie Bosson in the saddle, it’s tough to see what beats Melody Belle in the JJ Atkins.
Kiwi import Aloisia made an ideal debut to Australian racing last time out and is not without a chance in the JJ Atkins at double-figure odds. Settled mid-pack in the Saintly Hall Of Fame Trophy (1400m), the Azamour filly flew home to post a comfortable win over what was a notable field of runners. She appears as though she will relish racing at a mile and has drawn ideally into this field in barrier 6.
Silky Brown ran a handy fourth in The Phoenix last weekend and warrants a start in the JJ Atkins, but probably cannot win the race. The Captain Sonador filly should carry improvement into the race, is drawn well in barrier 8 and will be partnered former JJ Atkins winner Tye Angland.