Gai Waterhouse’s scintillating last start Canterbury winner Romantic Touch will be paid up for on Wednesday to make a drastic class rise in the JJ Atkins 2013 on Eagle Farm’s Stradbroke Handicap Day this Saturday.
The up-and-coming Northern Meteor gelding is yet to even race in black type company but has been confirmed as an acceptor for the $500,000 Group 1 Patinack Farm J.J. Atkins (1600m), formerly the TJ Smith, this weekend.
Nicely bred with their dam Dearness being a half-sister to Group 1 champions Desert War and Laser Hawk, Romantic Touch broke their maiden status at career start number three two back enjoying a two length victory over Diva Dee at Warwick Farm in a 1400m 2YO’s maiden.
The gelding returned 21 days later this time going to a midweek at Canterbury over 1550m relishing the step up in distance putting an emphatic seven and a half lengths on their closest rival.
Connections are now convinced they are ready to make themselves known at Group level and will take them to Queensland for the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival’s JJ Atkins.
“We gelded him after his first run as an early two-year-old,” Waterhouse’s stable rep Mark Newnham said of Romantic Touch.
“Then we put blinkers on at Warwick Farm and they really switched him on.
“From that win he really came on, his work improved so we took the blinkers off at Canterbury and he improved again.
“I would be surprised if he’s not right in it (on Saturday).”
Despite all the unknowns surrounding them Romantic Moon is dominating the pre-field JJ Atkins betting markets at online bookies around the country paying around $2.30 as the shortie of the 17 first acceptors.
The other best backed runners in the early markets then include the undefeated Chris Waller-trained Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce winner Zoustar, Sires’ runner-up and fellow Waller runner Vilanova, and Steven O’Dea’s local Choisir gelding Sir Moments who confirmed their claims with a narrow victory in the Listed The Phoenix (1400m0 at Eagle Farm last weekend.
Zoustar actually beat Romantic Moon home first-up at Canterbury in a 1100m sprint on April 17 and the duo haven’t raced against each other again since setting up an explosive showdown for the JJ Atkins.
Romantic Moon’s main danger however may still bypass the juvenile’s classic with Waller still unsure about running Zoustar on a rain-affected track over the 1600m.
Final JJ Atkins acceptances, as well as those for the two other Group 1’s on Straddie Day, are due to be taken on Wednesday and will be published right here at Races.com.au.
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