The first Group 1 of Stradbroke Handicap Day at Eagle Farm Racecourse this afternoon has been won by the Gai Waterhouse-trained favourite Romantic Touch who beat home the 12 other two-year-olds in the 2013 JJ Atkins field to take out the lucrative Brisbane Winter Racing Carnivalclassic.
Running as Eagle Farm Race 6, this year’s $500,000 Group 1 Patinack Farm J.J. Atkins (1600m) ran under that race name for the first time having previously been called the TJ Smith.
Sydney’s leading lady of racing Waterhouse however was just one year late to win a race named in her father Tommy Smith’s honour but she still would have been thrilled with the JJ Atkins result which was her first Group 1 win in Brisbane since Bentley Biscuit won the 2007 BTC Cup.
While Waterhouse wasn’t there to see the race in person her stable representative Bruce Slade was thrilled for her trackside.
“It’s such a special win after the month Gai’s had,” Slade said speaking of the More Joyous – John Singleton saga.
“A Group 1 two-year-old race, she’s the Queen of Racing and the best two-year-old trainer in the world.
“She’s always held the horse in very high regard.”
It certainly took a masterful juveniles’ trainer to recognise the potential in this nicely-bred Northern Meteor gelding who made a massive progression from a mid-week win at Canterbury to a Group 1 at Eagle Farm.
The recently gelded Romantic Touch showed they had something special in that last win when carrying 58kg to a scintillating seven and a half length win over the 1550m at Canterbury and the punters were predicting them to handle today’s acid test as they jumped race favourite in the JJ Atkins field.
Jockey Nash Rawiller didn’t hold them back either with Romantic Touch going up to take the lead from the also well supported Chris Waller-trained Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce winner Zoustar, who had the box seat third off the pace, in the early stages.
They held that front running position too for their impressive all-the-way JJ Atkins victory setting themselves up as a future three-year-old to watch in the upcoming spring features in both Sydney and Melbourne.
With 300m left to travel Zoustar (2nd), who had been waiting for the run on the fence, got into the clear and started to challenge as did the Peter Snowden-trained Commands colt Paximadia (3rd) who, wearing blinkers for the first time, over raced a bit battling on after being up on the speed.
While Zoustar produced at the right time and Paximadia was competitive right up until the final stride, Romantic Touch just dominated and got the job done for the favourite backers.
“He’s a nice size, he’s very athletic,” Rawiller said of the JJ Atkins winner after the race.
“He was a bit playful in the gates…a few signs he’s probably had enough (this preparation) so to come out and do what he’s done a good effort.”
Slade was also excited over what lay in store for Romantic Touch who he said was displaying many of the same traits as Waterhouse’s former six-time winning champion Desert War.
“He’s just come back a different horse mentally more than anything (since being gelded in April),” Slade said.
“He’s got that really high cruising speed…I see a lot of Desert War there.
“He’s going to get better next season, he’s just got so much promise.”
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2013 JJ Atkins Results & Finishing Order
Eagle Farm Race 6 – 08/06/2013
|1||7||ROMANTIC TOUCH||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||–||2||57kg||$2.35F|
|2||1||ZOUSTAR||Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy||0.5L||5||57kg||$4|
|3||8||PAXIMADIA||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||0.6L||6||57kg||$8|
|4||3||VILANOVA (NZ)||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||2.1L||9||57kg||$6.50|
|5||10||GLOBAL DREAM||Tony Gollan||Michael Rodd||2.5L||4||55kg||$18|
|6||4||OCTANE FLYER||Kelly Schweida||Timothy Bell||2.7L||12||57kg||$91|
|7||2||SIR MOMENTS||Steven O’dea||Michael Cahill||2.9L||3||57kg||$8|
|8||5||HOOKED||John P Thompson||Ryan Wiggins||3.3L||8||57kg||$14|
|9||12||SHE’S AMAZING||Toby Edmonds||Chris Munce||5.1L||11||55kg||$101|
|10||11||NAVELINA||Darren Bell||Eddie Wilkinson||6.4L||7||55kg||$41|
|11||13||LOCOMOTION||Liam Birchley||Larry Cassidy||6.5L||1||55kg||$101|
|12||9||CHOSEN IDOL||Paul Messara||Luke Nolen||6.7L||10||57kg||$81|
|13||6||DOWDSTOWN CHARLIE||David Payne||Christian Reith||6.9L||13||57kg||$21|