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New Zealand’s Tony Pike believes he has uncovered a livewire hope for the JJ Atkins 2016 in Brisbane next month and said he wouldn’t swap his two-year-old Sacred Elixir ahead of the Eagle Farm classic.
A talented son of Pour Moi, Sacred Elixir took his career record up to two wins and a second from four starts winning his Australian debut at the Sunshine Coast on May 11.
The young gelding saluted over 1400m in a two-years-old handicap with Damian Browne aboard, saluting under 58kg as the odds-on $1.70 favourite.
That win was enough for bookmakers down under to promote Sacred Elixir to the fourth line of futures JJ Atkins betting, Ladbrokes.com.au paying $10 for the Kiwi raider to win.
All-in JJ Atkins odds are firmly led by the John O’Shea-trained Lonhro Souchez ($3.60), winner of the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) in Sydney two back and the Group 2 Champagne Classic (1200m) last weekend at Doomben.
While the Cambridge-based Pike admitted there was lots to like about Souchez’s win on BTC Cup Day, he was more than happy to have Sacred Elixir in his stables heading into the $600,000 Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm on Stradbroke Handicap Day, June 11.
“Souchez did close that race off well but I wouldn’t swap my fella,” Pike told The Courier Mail.
“I’m pretty excited about him and I think he is a pretty serious horse.
“What he showed us back home in a limited preparation when we thought he was immature was pretty good. And he has just gone from strength to strength over here in Australia.”
The next traditional JJ Atkins lead-up race runs Saturday week on Doomben 10,000 Day with the juveniles doing battle in the $250,000 Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1350m).
Sizzling (2012) was the last two-year-old to complete the BRC Sires’ Produce – JJ Atkins double.
The past three JJ Atkins winners meanwhile have all been Sydney raiders coming off a lead-up run at home.
The Chris Waller-trained Press Statement (2015) won the race after success over 1350m at Rosehill the previous month, while Gai Waterhouse-trained stablemates Romantic Touch (2013) and Almalad (2014) came off victories at Canterbury and Randwick respectively.
Pike has a strong Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival contingent shaping up with his 2016 Queensland Oaks hope Provocative racing at Ipswich on Wednesday looking to qualify for the Group 1 on June 4 and NZ Derby winner Rangipo who runs in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) on Saturday.
Despite having taken out the Derby back home over the mile and a half, Pike isn’t targeting the Queensland Derby over the same distance with Rangipo.
Instead the Fred Best at Doomben this weekend will be a lead-up to the $400,000 Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) over the mile on Stradbroke Day.
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