Darren Smith’s dual Group 1 winner Atomic Force will make their new season debut this Saturday, the veteran sprinter returning after injury in the 2012 Carlyon Stakes at Moonee Valley.
The Danehill Dancer seven-year-old, winner of the Group 1 The Galaxy in the wet at Randwick in April last year, hasn’t raced since their successful raid on the New Zealand Summer Racing Carnival back in January.
During the festival across the Tasman Atomic Force added a second elite level to their title taking out the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.
They were last seen running a brave second on an unsuitably firm Good (3) track at Trentham to Guiseppina when carrying the 59kg topweight in the Group 1 Telegraph Handicap (1200m).
Atomic Force however was injured during that run and has spent the last seven months on the sidelines.
They are back on Saturday ready to get back to the business of winning in the $120,000 Listed Printhouse Carlyon Stakes (1000m), Smith confident they are at peak fitness after visiting them in Victoria earlier in the week.
“I flew down on Monday night, watched him work the next morning and was back home Tuesday night,’’ Smith said.
“Truly, I could not be happier with the horse. He is ready for this five-furlong scamper.
“He did a bit of three-quarter pace this morning [Thursday] and quickened up the last furlong, and Shane Treweek [stable foreman] was very happy with the way he went.”
The 60kg topweight of the full Carlyon Stakes field this year, Atomic Force is currently rated the $4.20 second elect in the betting markets at bookmaker.com.au and Smith is confident they can handle the weight and handle this field.
“He is the quality runner of the field and I suppose he has a big weight, but around the Valley I do not think that is a big factor,” Smith said.
“It is just a matter of him having the speed in his legs first-up.’’
They trail only Melbourne Cup Day winner African Pulse ($3.90) who has drawn the far outside barrier 15, and who will be withdrawn from the race if the track isn’t suitable according to trainer Michael Moroney.
Currently Moonee Valley is rated a Slow (6) and with overcast skies in Melbourne there is a strong chance Moroney will keep the favourite in.
A wet track is also going to suit Atomic Force to a tee, the experienced sprinter having won four of their seven starts on Heavy tracks.
The other well-liked horses in the Carlyon Stakes markets this year are classy Group 1 winning New Zealand mare Anabandana, Matthew Dale’s Not A Single Doubt five-year-old Unanimously and former Hong Kong performer Green Birdie who all occupy the third line of betting at a quote of $9.
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