Sacred Elixir may be drawn wide for Saturday’s JJ Atkins 2016 but Tony Pike-trained Kiwi raider remains favourite to take out the Group 1 mile classic at Eagle Farm Racecourse this Stradbroke Handicap Day.
One of the now four elite levels on the Brisbane card for Saturday, the $600,000 Group 1 BMW J.J. Atkins (1600m) will run with a capacity 18 two-year-olds.
Favourite in the latest JJ Atkins odds at Ladbrokes.com.au is Pike’s visiting New Zealand-trained Pour Moi gelding Sacred Elixir at $4.20 and firming (in from $5).
He has drawn gate 13 but will come into 11 if the two emergencies fail to gain a start.
Melbourne’s Zac Purton is booked for the ride after guiding Sacred Elixir to a sixth behind fellow JJ Atkins hope Attention in the Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1350m) at Doomben a fortnight back.
That run came on the back of his winning debut down under at the Sunshine Coast and saw him defeated only 1.3 lengths, a margin the bookies are tipping him to close with an atoning JJ Atkins success on Saturday.
Close second favourite in JJ Atkins betting this Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival paying $4.60 (in from $5) is the John O’Shea-trained Souchez in gate nine with James McDonald retaining the ride on the Lonhro colt.
Souchez hasn’t won since March’s Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1j200m) in Sydney, but comes off a couple of promising Brisbane lead-ups as O’Shea shoots for his second JJ Atkins win adding to that of Reigning To Win (2006) a decade ago.
Two back Souchez ran third just a quarter-length off the winner Winning Rupert in the Group 2 Champagne Classic (1200m) before his Sires’ Produce fifth when narrowly defeated again.
The BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes winner this season was the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Attention who is the $7 third favourite to score a JJ Atkins win this weekend.
The BRC Sires’ – JJ Atkins double was last achieved by Sizzling (2012) and jockey Blake Shinn is charged with attempting to complete it again this winter on Stratum colt Attention.
The youngster is drawn nicely in barrier two for Saturday’s Group 1, which will be his third run in Brisbane following the Group 2 victory last time out and his second in the Champagne Classic in mid-May.
Rounding out the single figure fancies at $8 is then Candika for local horseman Steven O’Dea.
Sebring filly Candika is out to be the first filly to win the JJ Atkins since Linky Dink scored the upset as a $25 shot back in 2009.
She has won two of her five career starts to date and was last seen crossing only a length off Attention in the BRC Sires’ with Paul Hammersley, who retains the ride on the weekend, in the saddle.
The best of the double-figure hopes include the local Kelso Wood-trained Sires’ Produce third placed Snitzel colt Nikitas ($10) in a nice barrier five draw and Bjorn Baker’s visiting Smart Missile colt Cadogan ($11) from Sydney.
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