Darryl Hansen’s Magic Millions Classic winning two-year-old Le Chef is the headline nomination taken by Racing Queensland this week for the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival’s juvenile showcase, the JJ Atkins 2015.
Early entries for seven Group 1 races in the ‘Sunshine State’ closed yesterday, including 77 nominations for the $600,000 Group 1 BMW Australia J.J. Atkins (1600m).
A host of hopeful youngsters are headed towards the Stradbroke Handicap Day support race at Doomben Racecourse on June 6, including the Sunshine Coast-trained Exceed And Excel gelding Le Chef.
A winner of three of his four starts to date, Le Chef’s biggest success and latest start was in the lucrative $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) on the Gold Coast in January, and he is Hansen’s sole JJ Atkins hope in 2015.
Magic Millions Classic second and third placegetters Pepperano and Single Gaze are also among the 78 JJ Atkins nominations taken this winter.
Liam Birchley prepares Court Command filly Pepperano, the Brisbane horseman after his maiden win in the classic.
A striking grey, Pepperano was last seen winning over the 1000m at the Sunshine Coast on April 26 and is one of three JJ Atkins nominees for Birchley along with Havasay and Myboycharlie filly Blueberry Hill.
Blueberry Hill won her opening two career starts earlier this autumn before running a brave second, beaten only a quarter-length in the Group 3 Ken Russell Memorial Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast on Anzac Day when stepped up to black-type company for the first time.
MM Classic third placegetter Single Gaze meanwhile is a Nick Olive-trained filly prepared in Canberra, the daughter of Not A Single Doubt last seen running under four lengths away 10th to Vancouver in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on March 21.
Sydney’s Gai Waterhouse scored the Slipper win this autumn, and has also won the past two editions of Brisbane’s JJ Atkins taking it out with Romantic Touch (2013) and Almalad (2014).
This year Waterhouse has nine JJ Atkins nominees including her Redoute’s Choice colt Red Knot, Sempre Libera and Cyrus Rocks.
Medaglia D’Oro filly Sempre Libera has had three starts for a win and a second to date, the victory being over 1200m at Rosehill in the wet on April 1 before her brave fourth when only a half-length off Ottoman in the Group 3 Percy Sykes Stakes (1200m) at Randwick 10 days later.
Cyrus Rocks meanwhile is a Bernardini colt who ran sixth on debut at Canterbury only yesterday and who Waterhouse has nominated for a trip to England’s Royal Ascot this season.
Sydney’s ace trainer Chris Waller posted his maiden juvenile’s Group 1 win in the JJ Atkins back in 2010 with Pressday, and is back in 2015 with six nominees.
Waller has entered last start Warwick Farm winner Counterattack, third in that same race So Willie, Encosta Line, Feast For Eyes, Stimac and a half-brother to Pressday Press Statement who won on debut at Canterbury on April 29.
At this stage, Waller’s racing manage Liam Prior has Hinchinbrook colt Press Statement tipped as their biggest improver heading into the JJ Atkins, a race formerly known as the TJ Smith.
The jockey aboard the youngster’s winning debut, Tye Angland, was also notably impressed.
“I’ve always liked him,” Angland told The Daily Telegraph.
“I have trialled him three times and on each occasion he’s given me a lovely feel.
“The stable are very good at knowing when to put them away and wait. I know this was only a midweek race but I’d be surprised if the form didn’t hold up.”
Prior however said the JJ Atkins was far from confirmed target, Press Statement possibly to be saved for next year’s Golden Rose.
See below for the full list of JJ Atkins 2015 nominations, late entries closing on Friday before the final field is released on Wednesday June 3.
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2015 JJ Atkins Nominations
Doomben Racecourse – 06/06/2015
|1||ADMIRABEEL (NZ)||G||2||Peter G Moody|
|2||AGREE TO||C||2||Bevan Laming|
|4||ALWAYS SACRED||G||2||Toby Edmonds|
|5||ART OF PERCEPTION||C||2||Gai Waterhouse|
|6||ASHLEE MARIE||F||2||Richard Laming|
|7||AUSSIE JACK||G||2||Barry Lockwood|
|9||BANDA SPICE||F||2||Stuart Kendrick|
|10||BASSETT (NZ)||G||2||Peter G Moody|
|11||BILLY BIG BROWN||C||2||Bjorn Baker|
|12||BLUEBERRY HILL||F||2||Liam Birchley|
|13||BRING A SECRET||G||2||Nick Olive|
|15||CERTAIN ELLIE||F||2||Paul Rocke|
|18||COOL CHAP||G||2||Peter G Moody|
|20||CYLINDER BEACH (NZ)||G||2||Desleigh Forster|
|21||CYRUS ROCKS||C||2||Gai Waterhouse|
|22||DANE SLUGGER||C||2||Bjorn Baker|
|23||DESTINATION TUCSON||F||2||Gai Waterhouse|
|24||DIAMOND METEOR||F||2||Gai Waterhouse|
|25||ENCOSTA LINE||C||2||Chris Waller|
|27||FEAST FOR EYES||C||2||Chris Waller|
|28||FIRST PRECINCT||C||2||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes|
|29||HARLEM RIVER||F||2||Gai Waterhouse|
|33||IT’S VEGAS BABY||G||2||Brad Herne|
|34||JILLIES JET||F||2||Kelly Schweida|
|35||LAND’S END||C||2||Gerald Ryan|
|36||LE CHEF||G||2||Darryl Hansen|
|38||LOOK TO THE STARS||F||2||Clarry Conners|
|40||MALAAHY||F||2||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes|
|41||MASSA LU (NZ)||C||2||Murray Baker|
|43||MY COLLEAGUE||C||2||Gerald Ryan|
|44||NEE DE PAPA||C||2||Matthew Dunn|
|47||ONE MORE MAGIC||F||2||Kim Craft|
|49||PEARL STAR||F||2||Matt Laurie|
|51||PREMIERE PLACE||C||2||Bryan Guy|
|52||PRESS STATEMENT||C||2||Chris Waller|
|53||PRINCE OF BROOKLYN||C||2||Mick Price|
|54||PRINCESS CHARM||F||2||Barry Baldwin|
|55||QUEEN TARA||F||2||David Vandyke|
|56||READY ALREADY||C||2||Gai Waterhouse|
|57||REAL GOOD||G||2||Trevor Miller|
|58||RED KNOT||C||2||Gai Waterhouse|
|60||SALT FLAT||C||2||John O’Shea|
|61||SEE LINE WOMAN (NZ)||F||2||Peter G Moody|
|62||SEMPRE LIBERA||F||2||Gai Waterhouse|
|63||SHADOW LAWN||F||2||Barry Baldwin|
|64||SHOCK ME (NZ)||F||2||David Vandyke|
|65||SINGLE GAZE||F||2||Nick Olive|
|66||SO WILLIE||C||2||Chris Waller|
|67||STAR OF NIGHT||F||2||David Kelly|
|68||STELLA DI NOTTE||F||2||Tony Gollan|
|70||SUMMER SURF||F||2||Anthony Cummings|
|71||TAAJ||C||2||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes|
|72||THE EQUINE BOLT||G||2||James Curtain|
|76||WICKED INTENT||C||2||Chris Munce|
|77||WOLF EYES||G||2||Stuart Webb|
|78||ZARA BAY||F||2||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes|