What you need to know about the JJ Atkins

By: Thursday 4 June 2020

THE JJ ATKINS

Group One, 2YOs set weights, Eagle Farm

HISTORY

* First run in 1976 when won by Romantic Dream

* Group One since 1985

* Set weights since 2007, handicap 1976-2006

* Known as the JJ Atkins since 2013

* Traditionally run over 1600m, this year the race is being run over 1400m and for reduced prize money of $350,000 as part of a revised winter carnival program in Queensland because of the coronavirus pandemic

* Winners include: Luskin Star (1977), Scomeld (1978), Zephyr Zip (1979), Zeditave (1988), Slight Chance (1992), Mahogany (1993), Mossman (1998), Show A Heart (2000), Darci Brahma (2005), Press Statement (2015), The Autumn Sun (2018)

TALKING POINTS

* The final of five Group One races for two-year-olds in Australia this season

* Trainer Chris Waller has won three of the past 10 editions of the race and has Spokesman, Saffiano and Overlord in this year's field

* Brisbane-trained Rothfire, prepared by Robert Heathcote, is the favourite having won five of his six starts including key lead-up the Champagne Classic

* Heathcote has won 10 Group One races but Rothfire could give him his first elite-level success in Queensland

* Lindy Dink is the most recent filly to win the race in 2009

* The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained filly Macroura is the only unbeaten horse in the field, having won her three starts

* Wild Ruler could give co-trainers Peter and Paul Snowden their third two-year-old Group One for the season after King's Legacy won the ATC Sires' Produce Stakes and Champagne Stakes

WHAT SOME OF THE KEY PLAYERS ARE SAYING

"I liked the way he relaxed in trackwork on Tuesday morning and I keep saying he is the horse they have to beat," - Rothfire's jockey Jim Byrne

"It's just whether he's seasoned enough for that seven furlongs on Saturday is the only question in my mind. I've got no doubt on his ability, it's just whether he's ready right now. We'll see," - Wild Ruler's co-trainer Peter Snowden

"In both his Australian starts he had a tendency to drop out in his races and with blinkers we want to get him closer in the run. Not An Option has drawn barrier three and hopefully blinkers mean we can make the most of it," - co-trainer Richard Freedman on Not An Option

"She's going great guns. Her work has been very good and she's on track," Macroura's co-trainer David Eustace