Injury plagued sprinter Atomic Force is set to make his latest return from injury in the Listed Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield this Saturday.
Trainer Darren Smith had Queensland Winter Carnival plans for the Danehill Dancer gelding but a muscle injury suffered when finishing ninth behind Black Caviar in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) ended those aspirations.
The seven-year-old looked impressive in a barrier trial over 800m at Gosford on Friday and Smith is confident he will be ready for his return this Saturday.
“He pulled up a bit average after the TJ,” Smith told AAP.
“He had a bit of a muscle injury in his hind quarters so we decided to give him some time off to get over it.
“He trialed well and we’ll see how he works on Tuesday before we make a final decision but the plan is to take him to Caulfield for the Listed race and then see where we go from there.”
Smith is taking it one step at a time with the duel Group 1 winner but the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on July 27 is on the agenda before a spring carnival tilt.
Atomic Force is a proven Group 1 performer but injuries have prevented him from returning to his best form in the last eighteen months.
The veteran sprinter was victorious in the Group 1 Galaxy Stakes (1100m) at Randwick in 2011 and the 2012 Railway Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie in New Zealand but suffered an injury in the Trentham Telegraph Handicap (1200m) that sent him to the paddock prematurely.
Since returning to the races in the Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m), in August of last year, he has run six times for no top three finishes and both campaigns have been ended by injuries.
Leading jockey Michael Rodd will ride Atomic Force for the first time on Saturday.