This time of year is always an interesting period for trials thanks largely to the string of juveniles starting out their careers.
Trainers enter their two year olds with high hopes and plenty of nerves as we get our first look at potential future champions.
Next Tuesday’s trials at Warwick Farm will be an equally intriguing spectacle, however this time the youngsters will take a back seat.
Group 1 winner Atomic Force and fellow sprinter Rain Affair will appear at the meet ahead of two very different but equally exciting programs.
Trainer of Atomic Force, Darren Smith, is still reeling from a snub by the Hong Kong Jockey Club that saw him rejected from the international meeting this weekend.
Smith was gutted he missed out on an invitation, his feelings justified when just three days after the announcement Atomic Force won at Canterbury with 61kgs on his back.
Nevertheless his plans had to change and now he’ll be looking for a second Group 1 win in the Railway Stakes at Ellerslie on January 1.
He will board a flight to New Zealand on December 21 with this trial favoured over a December 20 up in Newcastle.
It will be five weeks between runs by the time he jumps in the railway so next Tuesday is vital for his preparations.
Rain Affair will also make an appearance although there are no overseas ambitions from trainer Joe Pride at this stage.
He’d much rather see the horse continue an incredible record on home soil that’s seen him lose only one race from eight starts.
His first up test next year will be in the $100,000 Carrington Stakes over 1000m at Warwick Farm on January 2.
It’s a campaign that will seek to build on his Group 3 Missile Stakes victory back in August.