Exhibition gallop: trainer Darren Smith says Atomic Force is in good touch. Photo: Darren PatemanTrainer Darren Smith believes stable star Atomic Force, which resumes at stakes level at Rosehill on Saturday, is still able to beat the best.
Despite not saluting since New Zealand’s group 1 Railway Stakes in January last year, Smith is confident the gelding still has life left in his career. ”He is up to racing at any level if he keeps telling us he wants to race,” he said. ”We just have to put him in the right race where he is going to be competitive rather than just keep throwing him off the deep end.”
The seven-year-old returns after a three-month lay-off in the benchmark 95 (1100 metres) after being scratched from the listed Sir John Monash Stakes at Caulfield last weekend because of a poor barrier draw. A dramatic drop in class from his past five starts will bring the son of Danehill Dancer right into contention if he returns to his best form.
Lester Grace’s claim will ensure his 63 kilogram impost is reduced to 60kg in Saturday’s sprint.
‘There is no reason why he won’t be very competitive,” Smith said. ”The trial at Gosford was a nice trial and he had a gallop in between races at Newcastle a week or two prior to that. He is very well in himself, jumping around.”
This was not the case with Atomic Force’s three starts in the autumn. He looked far from his best throughout the Sydney carnival in three unsuccessful runs at group level. ”He wasn’t right, something was just niggling there, so that wasn’t him,” Smith said. ”He is getting older, so we are not kidding ourselves. All we are doing is taking it race by race with him; he will let us know about his racing future after each race.”
Atomic Force is an $11 outsider with TAB Sportsbet for the last leg of the quaddie behind equal favourites Choice Words and Whitlam ($4.20).
Earlier on the card, Smith’s Dynamic Syndications partnership begins with Excellent Point in the third race. The six-year-old, along with stablemate The Gallows, will contest the benchmark 80 (1200m).
His mare Oakfield Comet will line up in the 1350m fifth event.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.