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JJ Atkins Stakes preview

It's a star-studded card at Eagle Farm tomorrow as what used to be two quality days is now combined into one. The juvenile feature of the day has a new name, but it's still a highly valuable Group I. Now regular contributor Lara Pocock, @lara_pocock takes up the reins to line up this field.

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J J Atkins Preview

Previously known as the T J Smith Stakes and run over 1600m at Eagle Farm, the Group One J J Atkins will see 13 juveniles contest for the $320,000 first prize. The race was won last year by Sizzling, one of the principals in the betting for the Group One Stradbroke Handicap on the same Eagle Farm card today.

This year's group of juveniles in Australia do not appear to be a vintage bunch but a number of stakes performers and winners are present in the field and it is sure to be competitive. Eagle Farm is currently rated a Dead4, with more rain possible before this race, the sixth on the card and the first of the Group One features.

1. Zoustar - Unbeaten in three starts to date and the deserved favourite here. He won a maiden over 1100m at Canterbury, a handicap over 1300m at Hawkesbury and the Group Two BRC Sires' Produce over 1350m at Doomben on his latest start on 25 May. Stamina could be an issue, being out of a 1200m winning mare and by first season sire Northern Meteor, who won up to 1250m.

2. Sir Moments - The winner of two Listed races, including The Phoenix over 1400m at Eagle Farm last week. Sir Moments is a leading chance if he can stay the extra 200m and backing up should not be a problem, he won his first Listed race after a break of just two weeks.

3. Vilanova - From the Chris Waller stable, who have had a lot of success in recent months. Vilanova was second to Zoustar in the Sires' Produce and second in the Group Two Champagne Classic at Eagle Farm over 1200m on 11 May. The New Zealander won a stakes race and will be partnered by Hugh Bowman, a leading chance.

4. Octane Flyer - The winner of two of his seven starts was second in the Group Three Skyline Stakes on his first start this preparation but has disappointed in the Champagne Classic and Sires' Produce since. Needs to drastically change his recent form to figure here.

5. Hooked - After winning his first two starts for trainer John Thompson and retained by Nathan Tinkler, Hooked put in decent performance in the Champagne Classic and Sires' Produce but does not look quite up to this level yet. His brother, Casino Card, won over 1400m as a three-year-old, and Hooked could be another one to progress as a three-year-old.

6. Dowdstown Charlie - Finally broke his maiden on his seventh start on 25 May at Randwick. Has had two starts in stakes company to date and finished down the field, looks likely to do the same here unless he has a big turnaround.

7. Romantic Touch - Trained by Gai Waterhouse and the winner of his last two starts, including a handicap over 1550m at Canterbury on 22 May. Connections obviously believe he is a bright prospect, and market also suggests so, but this will be his first start in stakes company. He will be ridden by Nash Rawiller.

8. Paximadia - A handicap winner at Warwick Farm on 25 April who was fourth in the Sires' Produce. From the Peter Snowden stable he could run a big race from a handy draw (barrier six). His dam won over 2600m in France and his top class pedigree includes the sires Street Cry and Shamardal.

9. Chosen Idol - Third in a Listed race over 1200m at Doomben on 18 May and fifth to Sir Moments in The Phoenix. Has not done a lot wrong but others look like a higher class in this field.

10. Global Dream - Third in the Champagne Classic and sixth in the Sires' Produce, this filly was also fourth in the Magic Millions Classic. She has drawn barrier four and as a daughter of Fastnet Rock and being a half sister to the VRC Oaks fourth, Maraatib, could perform better than her price suggests.

11. Navelina - Another big priced filly who is likely to he outclassed here. She won a 1400m handicap at Eagle Farm on 30 March and was seventh in the Listed Lancaster Stakes on 18 May at Doomben but this is a major ask for her.

12. She's Amazing - Having only been to the racecourse twice, finishing third on her debut and then winning a handicap by three quarters of a length over 1400m on the Gold Coast, this Toby Edmonds-trained filly is making her stakes debut and could be best watched unless the market suggests otherwise.

13. Locomotion - Still a maiden after three starts, this $180,000 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale purchase was fourth in The Phoenix. Her dam won four races up to 1400m but she will need stamina and a step up in class to figure here.

My first choice would be Vilanova, Chris Waller has had a lot of success recently and I think he could pick up another Group One here. Vilanova has an excellent pedigree, out of the Group winner Valpolicella, stamina does not seem to be an issue and I think he could turn the tables on Zoustar, who may find the step up in trip a bit of a struggle.

Romantic Touch is from the Gai Waterhouse stable, who won the Golden Slipper Stakes with Overreach this season, and this horse looks like a smart prospect, with the market suggesting his step up to stakes company will not be a problem. My outsider would be Global Dream, she is well bred, and her fourth in the Magic Millions makes her a handy sort, with her races after that suggesting that she needs further.

1. Vilanova
2. Romantic Touch
3. Global Dream

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