Wednesday, 18 January 2012
An inside draw in Saturday's Telegraph Handicap has top jockey Nash Rawiller upbeat about the prospects of Atomic Force claiming New Zealand's summer sprint double.
The last-start Railway Stakes
winner came up with barrier four for the Group One Telegraph Handicap and Rawiller is excited to be heading back across the Tasman.
Atomic Force will need to lump 59kg in the 1200m feature at Trentham but the Darren Smith-trained gelding's last-start success has filled Rawiller with optimism.
"He should get a nice run there on Saturday now," Rawiller said.
"Sometimes the speed is from the outside and you think you're getting into a good spot and next minute you can be in an awkward spot.
"I don't know if it's a huge advantage but I'm certainly drawn to give him his chance to carry the weight and win."
Atomic Force notched the second Group One success of his career with a half-length victory from a wide barrier in the Railway Stakes
(1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year's Day.
That was at set weights plus penalties while the Telegraph is run under handicap conditions.
Atomic Force has shown he can carry weight having lumped 59kg after apprentice Chad Schofield's three-kilogram claim to win an 1100m Welter at Canterbury in November and then 58kg last start.
"He put the writing on the wall the other day (in the Railway) that he's in exceptional form and he's obviously done well over there," Rawiller said.
"While they're happy and nice and settled in the surroundings, why wouldn't you wait around for this and have another throw at the stumps?
"We're very confident the horse will fly the flag again for us."
Rawiller had a day to forget last weekend when he was first past the post aboard No Looking Back in the $2 million Magic Millions Classic only to be relegated to second following a successful protest by Tommy Berry on Driefontein.
He was later suspended for careless riding after winning the Magic Millions Stayers' Cup on Kontiki Park.
That suspension starts after the Telegraph meeting and Rawiller is hoping to go out a winner.
But he knows it will take another top effort by Atomic Force to carry the weight and score.
"It's still going to be a task for him," Rawiller said.
"It will be no walk in the park but I don't think he can be any better prepared for it."