A November 1998 photograph showing trainer Jim Atkins at Clifford Park racecourse.
A November 1998 photograph showing trainer Jim Atkins at Clifford Park racecourse. Debbie Druce

South Grafton's greatest racing export gets Group 1 honours

SOUTH Grafton's greatest-ever racing export, Hall Of Fame trainer Jim Atkins, has been honoured by Racing Queensland as thenamesake for a Group One race on Stradbroke Day at Eagle Farm on June 8.

The $500,000 Group One J.J. Atkins (1600m) is the premier event for two-year-olds at the annual Brisbane Winter Racing carnival and was formerly known as the T.J. Smith after fellow Hall Of Fame trainer Tommy Smith.

But it is not all happy families in the Racing Hall Of Fame, with fellow inductee and trainer Gai Waterhouse slamming the move by Racing Queensland officials.

Waterhouse is the daughter of the late Tommy Smith and doesn't believe the race name should have been changed.

"J.J. Atkins was a great trainer, but my father was the greatest trainer of two-year-olds in the world," Waterhouse told media at Canterbury racecourse on Wednesday.

"Maybe they were being parochial and wanted to make it local.

"But I can't understand it."

The spat won't stop Waterhouse chasing the prize-money associated with the race however, and she will set Romantic Touch for the event after his dominant seven-length win in Sydney on Wednesday.



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