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Commander too good in Phoenix Stakes

Trainer John Thompson will confer with Caloundra winner Commander’s owners before committing the gelding to a start in the Group One JJ Atkins Stakes.

Commander ($6) scored his first win when he beat Grim Reaper ($9), with a half-neck to A Man To Match ($9) in the Listed Phoenix Stakes (1600m).

Trainer John Thompson had Commander in a maiden at Gosford on Thursday but decided to take on black type at Caloundra.

“There wasn’t much between the two races but I thought black type was a lure,” he said.

Commander is raced by Paul Fudge’s Waratah Thoroughbreds, which has had a lot of recent success in Queensland with horses such as the stayer Maurus.

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The gelding is an acceptor for the JJ Atkins at Doomben on Saturday and had been No.17 on the order of entry.

However, the $61,000 first prize on Saturday will ensure he gets a start.

Thompson said he would speak with Fudge in the next few days before deciding on a definite start in the JJ Atkins.

“He is in the race and he showed today that 1600m is no problem. He likes to get his toe in the ground on wet tracks so that’s a plus as well,” Thompson said.

“I think he will eventually get at least 2000 metres.”

Winning jockey Jim Byrne said Commander had a nice run outside the second horse for much of the race and had been too strong at the finish.

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