Group One winner Atomic Force has thrived since returning from Melbourne, so much so that trainer Darren Smith has opted to run him at Rosehill on Saturday.
In a move that has raised a few eyebrows, the entire will line up in the Turner Freeman Handicap, a Quality sprint over 1100m, despite the fact he would not have been out of place in Saturday’s Group Two Salinger Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.
However, Smith explained connections decided to pull the pin on Atomic Force’s spring campaign following his disappointing sixth in the Manikato Stakes won by Sepoy.
It was only that he did so well upon his return home to Smith’s stable that the decision was made to run him again.
“He’d had a long campaign so we brought him home,” Smith said.
“But the horse was so well and this was a suitable race.
“We have nominated him for the International (Sprint) race in Hong Kong and if he runs well we’re hoping he might get an invitation.”
Atomic Force will carry the maximum topweight of 61kg and Smith has opted not to claim.
Instead, in-form jockey Jim Cassidy will be in the saddle.
Smith has no qualms about Atomic Force lumping the impost, pointing to his half-head second to Motspur at Scone under 60.5kg in May and his first-up third to Zaratone in the Listed Starlight Stakes at Rosehill with the same weight.
“I don’t think 61 will be a problem if the horse is right,” Smith said.
“First-up from a spell with (jockey) Nash (Rawiller) he had a big weight.
“He’s a strong horse.”
Atomic Force won a Listed 1100m sprint at Caulfield second-up and finished third to Buffering in the Group Three McEwen Stakes at Moonee Valley before flopping in the Manikato.
Smith said that race didn’t work out for him and his run was best forgotten.
“I think it was just the wrong race on the wrong night,” Smith said.
“Turn the page.”
While Atomic Force will carry his allotment from the handicapper, Smith has engaged three-kilo claiming apprentice Shaun Guymer for stablemate Oakfield Beauty in the Fisher Fitouts Hcp (1200m).
The mare hasn’t been far away in three runs this preparation.
She was beaten less than four lengths when unplaced first-up at Warwick Farm then went down by a half-head to The Blues at Canterbury earlier this month.
Last start she was ninth in the Listed Nivison (1200m), beaten just under four lengths by Balmont, and will carry 56kg on Saturday after the claim.
“I thought the weight allowance would help her,” Smith said.
“She’s fairly easy to ride and she’s fit and well.
“First-up she needed the run, second-up perhaps she was a bit unlucky and the other day she ran a good race in a hard race.”