Two decades after training his first Group One placegetter in the Galaxy, Darren Smith finally went one better when Atomic Force raced away with the feature sprint at Randwick.
Atomic Force revelled in the heavy conditions in the Galaxy (1100m) and also provided jockey Tim Clark with a day he’ll never forget after he claimed the time-honoured Doncaster on Sacred Choice a race earlier.
Smith has been training just over 20 years and was thrilled to break through with a victory at the highest level.
“I ran second in this race years and years ago with a horse called Varikos,” Smith said.
“Mr. Tiz beat him so it’s great that I’ve been able to win this race today.
“When it started raining I couldn’t believe it. The horse is going terrific and it’s my first Group One.
“We’ve had some handy horses but we’ve never been quite able to get there in a Group One.”
Sent out at $10, Atomic Force began well and Clark had him up near the speed and ready to strike.
The five-year-old booted clear in the straight and Clark had time to savour the moment as Atomic Force held a 2-3/4-length advantage on the line over Thankgodyou’rehere ($7), with Cardinal Virtue ($31) a close third.
Clark said he thought he had the race won as far as 600 metres from home as the son of Danehill Dancer travelled sweetly.
“It’s a huge thrill and a huge buzz,” the young jockey said.
“I couldn’t have been more confident in the run, he just jogged.
“Full credit has to go to Darren because he was a bit disappointing last start at Rosehill but he’s turned it around.”
Promising galloper Thankgodyou’rehere turned in another top performance to run home out wide for second with co-trainer Pat Webster and jockey Rod Quinn proud of the gelding’s effort on unsuitable ground.
“I was surprised how well he went and I’m proud of him,” Webster said.
“There’s a bit of arrogance about him and we’ll look at races in Brisbane now.”
Among those races could be the Group One Doomben 10,000 if Thankgodyou’rehere can make his way into the field which could feature champion Black Caviar.
“If we can get him fit I can’t wait to take on Black Caviar,” Webster said with his tongue firmly in his cheek.
Three-year-old Shrapnel had been well supported during the week but was scratched earlier in the day when the track was downgraded to a heavy 10.