By Geoff Newling
ATOMIC Blaze chases a Baradine Cup on his home Coonabarabran track today.
The Mick Cox-trained gelding is coming off a strong win at Coonamble last Sunday when he finished powerfully for a half length win in the Neville Nalder Memorial Benchmark 65 Handicap (1300m).
It was the six-year-old gelding’s third career win and set him up perfectly to run well in today’s Bardine Cup, a benchmark 65 handicap over 1400m.
Atomic Blze goes up 100m in distance and also rises 1.5kg in weight while reuniting with apprentice Rachel Murray.
Murray has outridden her apprentice’s country claim but rode the son of Ring Star perfectly at Coonamble and has another long wide stride to balance up on and finish off at Coonabarabran.
Atomic Blaze is trained by Mick Cox at Coonabarabran and Cox, the Coonabarabran Jockey Club vice-president, is confident his gelding can a run a big race in the Baradine Cup.
“He’s going well, that was a big win at Coonamble,” Mick Cox said Saturday morning.
“It’s a tough little race though.”
The likes of topweight Monashee Woods (Sue Grills) and Domuar Miss (Brett Thompson) were quoted joint 3-1 favourites Saturday while the Tony Newing-trained Timeless Prince, a winner at Tamworth last Monday, was 4-1 with Atomic Blaze and the Allan Kehoe-trained Whispering Gap listed at 6-1 just in front of recent Bundarra Cup winner, The Early Bird. The Gavin Groth-trained The Early Bird was quoted at 8-1.
Atomic Blaze was backed in from 12-1 to 7-1 at Coonamble last Monday, although Cox admits he “only got the 7s”.
“They were too quick for me,” he said of some punters “who knocked off the price”.
“My bloke has done well since Coonamble too,” he added. “Hasn’t missed a beat. And he’s on his home track.
“He only has to step out the stable.
“He knows the ground, the track.”
Cox is one of five trainers who work their horses at Coonabarabran.
It means “we can virtually work our horses whenever we want too”.
He became the CJC vice-president this year but has also been on the committee since 1997.
Having the track and complex in good nick has been a priority for the club but being able to work his horses on a track which rises “42 feet” from the top of teh straight to the finishing post is a distinct advantage.
“Being at home is an advantage for anyone,” Cox added.
BARADINE CUP MARKET
3-1 Monashee Woods, Domuar Miss, 4-1 Timeless Prince, 6-1 Whispering Gap, Atomic Blaze, 8-1 The Early Bird, 12-1 La Luna, 20-1 Our Danasinga, 25-1 Doctor Oh.