Jim Atkins came from one of the most prominent racing families in northern New South Wales, where he started training. In 1936 he settled in Brisbane and following the war moved to Toowoomba. After overhearing a chance remark from a fellow trainer that nobody could win the Brisbane trainers’ Premiership while based in Toowoomba, he was determined to prove him wrong.
Atkins opened his account with a number of prolific winners, including Peacetime and Gay Composer each of which won 18 races, and Sumarco which won six in a row at Albion Park. The best to come from his stable included Dalrello (Queensland Guineas, Doncaster Handicap, Craven Plate, All Aged Stakes, George Ryder Handicap), Grey Affair (Doomben Cup, Brisbane Cup, Queensland Cup), Prince Ruling (Tulloch Stakes, Chipping Norton Stakes, second to Kingston Town in the Cox Plate), Just Now (AJC Oaks), Mr Cromwell (QTC Grand Prix- Queensland Derby double), Rock Show (QTC Easter Cup twice), Buon Giorno (Tattersall’s Cup), Native Son (QTC Brisbane Handicap twice), Rhalif (BATC Labour Day Cup twice), Grey Colnik (QTC Easter Cup) and Gentle Jim (Queensland Guineas). In Victoria Atkins took out the Linlithgow Stakes with Prince Ruling, the Hotham Handicap with Mr Cromwell, and the Turnbull Stakes with Just Now.
In 1971-72 Atkins achieved his ambition of winning the Brisbane trainers’ premiership, and for the next 25 years he was always one of the top 10 trainers in the metropolitan rankings. He won a further three premierships in 1972-73, 1973-74 and 1983-84.
Atkins continued training into the 1990s, winning the 1995 Toowoomba Cup with Solar Circle and the 1996 BTC AWA Stakes with RIP Home. Sadly Atkins passed away in August 2010 at the age of 94.
Jim Atkins was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.