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Image: Darren Winningham
Eminent will be out to upstage hot favourite Melody Belle in the JJ Atkins

New Zealand filly Melody Belle dominates betting for the Group One J J Atkins Stakes but two Queensland stables have reasons to believe better conditions can help them cause an upset.

Melody Belle is the $2.10 favourite for the season’s final Group One race for two-year-olds on Saturday after her owners, Te Akau Stud syndicate, paid an $18,000 late fee after missing the original acceptances.

It looks a wise investment as Melody Belle is coming off a five-length win in the Group Two BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm two weeks ago.

In her wake were most of Saturday’s field including Eminent, trained at Caloundra by David Vandyke, and Capital Gain from Paul Butterworth’s Eagle Farm stable.

Both trainers believe they can get closer on Saturday at Doomben.

Vandyke thought enough of Eminent to consider running him in the Group One Champagne Stakes in the Sydney autumn but decided it would be better to set the colt for the J J Atkins (1600m).

“He is a better horse than his last run and this has always been his grand final,” Vandyke said.

“He is a happy horse who is much better drawn and back on a dry track.”

Eminent, who is raced by Sunshine Coast real estate agent Roy Henzell, is a Doomben winner.

“I boarded with Tom Clarke who owns Rudy at high school. Rudy is in the Brisbane Cup so it will be a real celebration if we could both have Group winners on the one day,” Henzell said.

Capital Gain was one of the better runs in the Sires’ coming from 16th on the home turn to finish fifth.

Butterworth said Capital Gain had been looking for 1600m and some luck in his races.

“We are hoping he can be a bit closer in the run,” he said.

 
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