Atmospherical Has A Lot to Live Up To

If breeding counts for anything, promising five-year-old pacer Atmospherical will develop into a consistent winner and reinsman Chris Voak is bullish about the gelding’s prospects in the Direct Trades Supply Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Atmospherical, bred and owned by Bob Fowler and trained at Oakford by Ross Olivieri, will start from the No. 1 barrier on the front line in the 2096m standing-start event and has an excellent chance of turning the tables on the brilliant Caviar Star, who finished determinedly to beat the frontrunning Atmospherical in a 2503m stand last Friday week.

“Yes, he’s got a good chance of turning the tables,” said an enthusiastic Voak. “Caviar Star beat Atmospherical the last time they met but he only got the better of Atmospherical about 100 metres out. This week, the race is 300m shorter and we can hang on and win.”

Caviar Star, who will be driven by Gary Hall Jnr from the inside of the 10m line, did not race last Friday night when Atmospherical, driven by Stuart McDonald, gave a most impressive performance to charge home, three wide, from ninth at the bell to finish a close third behind Smoldering Ashes and Mistersandman in a 2130m mobile event.

“I have watched the replay of that race and Atmospherical got pushed off the track and hit the line strongly,” Voak said. “Atmospherical has drawn barrier one twice in stands and has led and won both times. I’ll be aiming to lead again on Friday night.”

Atmospherical has raced 25 times for six wins and nine placings for earnings of $33,844. His six starts in stands have produced three wins, one second and two unplaced efforts.

By American stallion Major In Art, Atmospherical has an impressive heritage and traces her ancestry back to world champion pacing mare, the New Zealand-bred Parisienne, who as a four-year-old won all three heats she contested at the Interdominion championship in Christchurch in 1938 before starting off 24 yards in the 13-furlong final and finishing second to Pot Luck (12 yards). Parisienne was declared the interdominion champion as the series was awarded on a point-scoring basis at the time.

Earlier, Parisienne, by the Los Angeles-bred Rey de Oro, won the New Zealand and Great Northern Derbies and after her Inters triumph she set a world record of 4min. 15.6sec. for two miles at Forbury. At stud, Parisienne was the dam of La Mignon, a mare who won 12 times before producing Garcon Roux, winner of the 1969 New South Wales Derby and also becoming Australasia’s first three-year-old sub-two-minute performer.

Atmospherical’s dam Hemispherical raced only five times for one win (as a two-year-old at Pinjarra in August 2011). Hemispherical’s granddam Summer Honey produced outstanding WA pacers Hilarion Star (70 starts for 26 wins, 17 placings and $398,394), Flashing Star (118 starts for 23 wins, 32 placings and $352,888) and Sassie Brassie (79 starts for 17 wins, 23 placings and $88,985).

Hilarion Star’s wins included the 1992 Western Gateway Classic, the FTC Members Sprint and Parliamentarians Cup in 1993 and the WA Pacing Cup in January 1994. Flashing Star, a classic winner at two and three years of age, won the 1994 Golden Nugget Championship and the 1997 Mount Eden Sprint.

Hall agreed that Atmospherical loomed as a serious threat to Caviar Star on Friday night, but considered the lightly-raced four-year-old would prove hard to beat. “Caviar Star’s effort at his latest start was unbelievable,” he said. “He’s quite a lazy horse and I’ve probably under-driven him a couple of times.”