Connections of Atomic Force remain confident the rising eight-year-old can still make an impact in high quality races but they aren’t about to risk him in unfavourable circumstances.
The dual Group 1 winner was due to make his return in Saturday’s Sir John Monash Stakes at Caulfield but has been withdrawn after copping barrier 10 in an 11-horse field.
The Newcastle-based sprinter hasn’t raced since finishing ninth in Black Caviar’s TJ Smith Stakes swan song and is now set to return at Rosehill on Saturday week.
Trainer Darren Smith said there was no point travelling to Melbourne to take on some high quality sprinters – including Oakleigh Plate winner Mrs Onassis – when there is every chance the veteran would be caught wide in running.
“The Monash is quite a strong race, he’s drawn wide and the chances are he’s going to be caught wide so we decided to stay home,” Smith told TVN.
“There is a race for him up here [in Sydney] next week.”
Despite scratching him from this weekend’s Caulfield feature, Smith has no concerns about the well-being of the son of Danehill Dancer.
A trip to Melbourne this winter still beckons but Smith said he will remain patient and let the horse’s performance at Rosehill guide the path he takes.
“The horse is very well but we decided to take an easier route to start off with,” he said.
A Group 1 winner in the 2011 Galaxy at Randwick, Atomic Force secured his second win in the top grade when travelling to New Zealand for the Railway Stakes at Ellerslie in January 2012.
While Atomic Force won’t be taking part, the Sir John Monash is shaping up as intriguing contest. As far as the market is concerned it looks a race in two, with Mrs Onassis ($3.20) and exciting colt Happy Galaxy ($3.30) jostling for favouritism.