Trainer Darren Smith says Atomic Force will remain pretty much at the same level that won him the Group 1 Railway Stakes last start but he’s confident that will be enough to win the Group 1 Telegraph Handicap this weekend in New Zealand.
His confidence will grow further should his charger draw well, especially given he got the job done last time even after running wide throughout.
“He got away with racing wide in the Railway but it might be a little harder in a handicap race,” Smith said.
Although he proved himself capable running without cover it’s certainly not a tactic Smith would like to be repeated.
“As much as he handled it last start, you don’t want to be covering ground all the time,” he said.
One thing Smith can bank on though is a consistent effort from the dual Group 1 winner who he describes as ‘no world beater’.
“What you see is what you get with him. I can’t imagine him improving too much off his last run but I think he proved he is more than good enough,” he said.
Atomic Force will face a greater challenge this weekend though with Mufhasa entered, the winner of over half a dozen Group 1 races.
Mufhasa will be the top weight but as yet Smith isn’t sure how close Atomic Force will get.
“I am not 100 per cent certain on the weight we will get but I guess it would be around 59kg or 59.5kg,” Smith said.
“He had 58kg last start so you would expect it would have to go up a little.”
Smith assures punters that Atomic Force isn’t just running for the sake of it and he’s only there because of what he’s shown in work.
“He’d done that well we thought we might as well keep him going,” Smith said.
“He is settled in, he is fit and healthy and in good form.”
This will be his final run before a spell leaving the gelding in an awkward position for his return to Australia.
It may be a rush to get him back in time to defend his Galaxy title in the autumn with perhaps the Brisbane winter carnival another option.
Atomic Force will once again be ridden by Nash Rawiller on Saturday before the Gai Waterhouse stable jockey begins a 12 meet suspension for careless riding during the Magic Millions.