2016 JJ Atkins Aim for Candika

Steven O’Dea’s Magic Millions Classic placed filly Candika took her first steps towards a JJ Atkins 2016 bid this Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival with a strong jump out at Eagle Farm on Tuesday morning.


Magic Millions Classic placegetter Candika targets the 2016 JJ Atkins at Eagle Farm this Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival. Photo: Daniel Costello.

In the 800m jump out on the A-grass at the recently renovated Eagle Farm track, the two-year-old daughter of Sebring looked to be back in the gun form of her opening campaign during the spring – summer.

“She jumped away from the outside gate in a field of five runners and was caught three and four wide the trip,” O’Dea said of the gallop.

“She ended up finishing third, beaten about two or three lengths, but wasn’t really asked for an effort at all.

“She’s not one of those jump and run half-mile fillies that come out and win these sort of trials. She’ll take great benefit from that and her rider Paul Hammersley said she definitely feels like a stronger filly this time in.”

After back-to-back Doomben wins over 1050m and 1110m to kick off her career, Candika was thrown in the deep end at the Gold Coast on January 9.

She contested the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) and was brave in defeat running third behind Capitalist.

The Peter & Paul Snowden trained winner further franked the form with his Golden Slipper Stakes success in Sydney on March 19 defeating Yankee Rose, the only other filly to date to come within three lengths of Capitalist on race day.

Yankee Rose also proved Capitalist was setting the benchmark for this season’s juveniles when she backed up from her Slipper second to win the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m).

She was ruled out of a Champagne Stakes back-up over the Randwick mile last Saturday however after failing to pass a veterinary examination.

All of that still bodes very well for the soon-to-return Candika whose Eagle Farm-based trainer O’Dea is eyeing a first-up run for at Doomben in an 1100m 2YO Plate on April 30 after another galloper next Tuesday.

From there she’s likely to go via the traditional two-years-old winter path into the Group 2 Champagne Classic (1200m) on BTC Cup Day on May 14 followed by the Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) on May 28.

Her major season aim will be the $600,000 Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm on Stradbroke Handicap Day, June 11, won last year by the recently retired Chris Waller-trained Press Statement (2015).

O’Dea has saddled up just one previous JJ Atkins starter to date without success, but hopes Candika can break the hoodoo of fillies in the race and beat home the colts and geldings for the first time since Linky Dink (2009).

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