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Atomic Force blasts to
Railway Stakes victory

Report: New Zealand, Sunday

Ellerslie: Railway Stakes (Group 1) 6f

ATOMIC FORCE (Darren Smith/Nash Rawiller) powered home over his New Zealand rivals to win the Group 1 Railway Stakes at Ellerslie on Sunday earning his trainer praise from owner Dean Watt.

Atomic Force overcame a tardy start and a four-wide run in transit to out-finish The Hombre and Twilight Savings to win the 1,200m sprint in the hands of top Sydney jockey Nash Rawiller.

The six-year-old gelding showed form early on but was about to be sacked before Watt convinced his fellow owners to try Smith, who trains on his property near Newcastle.

"He was having problems with his feet and Darren had his feet redone, and he's also much happier in a paddock than in the stalls in Sydney," Watt said.

"He had been dismissed as a bush horse but he's earned 23 cheques in 23 starts since Darren's had him and won nine times."

The Railway Stakes was always a back-up plan for Atomic Force once he was controversially omitted from the Hong Kong Sprint last month, especially as he was well weighted under the set weights and penalties conditions.

"It's a great thrill. Right now I don't need a plane to fly home to Sydney," Watt said.

He said he and Smith would decide in the next two days whether to stay in New Zealand for the Group 1 Telegraph Handicap (1,200m) at Trentham on January 21.

"He won't be as well in at the weights but with Mufhasa in the field the weights will be more compressed which will help," Watt said.

Smith said the preparations for the race had gone smoothly and the wet track was also in his favour.

"Everything was 110 per cent with the horse," Smith said."It couldn't have worked out any better and I couldn't be any prouder of the horse."

Rawiller said Atomic Force did well to win after missing the start.

"It wasn't the plan but the worst thing you can do is panic. I thought it was best to keep him balanced and he gave plenty in the straight."

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