Trainer Darren Smith has declared dual Group One winning sprinter Atomic Force to be in the shape of his life as he steps up preparations for the spring.
The six-year-old has not raced since he returned from a successful summer campaign in New Zealand which yielded an elite win in the Railway Stakes and a second in the Telegraph Handicap.
“He probably looks the best he’s ever looked,” Smith said.
“He’s about three weeks away from a trial.”
The winner of the 2011 Group One Galaxy in Sydney, Atomic Force was also to the fore in Melbourne last spring.
After finishing third in the Starlight Stakes in Sydney he went to Caulfield and won the Slickpix Stakes before finishing third to Buffering in the McEwen Stakes at Moonee Valley.
Connections are yet to settle on a program for this year but they will look to replicate what has worked in the past.
“I will give him a couple of trials in Sydney and then a decision will be made on whether he goes straight to Melbourne or has one run here and then goes to Melbourne,” Smith said.
“We will probably stick to the same pattern as last year with him and go to the Slickpix Stakes, a set weights race around Caulfield and then we’ll just take it step by step.”
Trainer Gerald Ryan also has his sights on Melbourne for Golden Slipper runner-up Snitzerland.
The filly is back in work at his Rosehill stable, along with several of his other smart juveniles including Magic Night Stakes placegetter Cavalry Rose, Group Three winner Flying Snitzel and Amorino.
“I’m not real sure yet but Cavalry Rose we will probably aim towards the fillies series here and she’s paid up for the Golden Rose,” Ryan said.
“Snitzerland is a sprinter and will possibly be aimed at the fillies’ sprint races in Melbourne.
“Amorino has done really well, he’s thickened up and Flying Snitzel has also been back and done a bit of work.”