Peter Niven knows what it takes to be a winner and rates Atomix highly, so the gelding can give backers a flying start at Musselburgh tomorrow.
Niven was a top jumps jockey for many years – he was the first Scots rider to partner 1000 winners. He switched to training and is steadily building up his team in North Yorkshire. Stable star Clever Cookie has already done much to boost the Cloverfield Stables and Atomix may well reach the same level one day.
The gelding was runner-up in a bumper at Catterick on his racecourse debut almost exactly a year ago and then went one better in a similar event on this East Lothian track. The five-year-old then took a massive step up in class in the Grade Two Championship bumper at the Grand National Festival at Aintree in April.
He was far from disgraced, finishing in midfield and, after a summer holiday, he showed promise when fifth on his hurdling bow on his reappearance at Uttoxeter in October.
That outing blew away the cobwebs and he subsequently finished third at Newcastle after a mistake three from home. But he was kicked at the start and his trainer believes that was the reason for defeat.
Atomix clearly has plenty of ability and a touch of class – his dam is a half sister to a German Derby winner – and can open his account over timber in the British Stallions Studs EBF Maiden Hurdle (12.00) which opens tomorrow’s card.
Jackie Stephens may be Britain’s most northerly trainer, but she is making a fair job of her new career and can make it to the winner’s enclosure again tomorrow.
She trains ten horses in the wilds of Aberdeenshire, has already saddled five winners this term and Bright Prospect can add to that tally in the Watch Racing UK Today Handicap Chase (1.40).
The gelding has blossomed since switching to fences in the summer. He was third on his chasing debut at Perth in June and fourth there later that month before winning on the Tayside track in August.
The handicapper put him up 12lb for that effort, but Bright Prospect again ran well when third at Perth in September before going down only in a photo finish at Ayr recently.
The official assessor has again hoisted him up the ratings – by 4lb this time – but he is ideally suited by this two-and-a-half-mile trip and is still on the upgrade.
Rev Up Ruby has four wins over hurdles on her CV, the latest coming on this track last month when she led halfway up the home straight and ran on strongly.
The handicapper has put her up 6lb in the ratings in the Racing UK Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle (1.10) but there may be more to come from the mare as she had been off the track for more than a year after winning at Cartmel in 2015.
She had run with credit on her return to action at Hexham in October, weakening only on the stiff uphill climb to the final hurdle there and has bags of stamina.
There could be a Royal winner in the aptly-named Forth Bridge who carries the Queen’s colours in the Racing UK Juvenile Hurdle (2.15).
A winner on the flat at Haydock in mid-summer, the gelding shaped with great promise on his hurdles debut at Wetherby recently, making much of the running and jumping soundly. He was a couple of lengths clear at the last, but was caught near the line and beaten in a photo finish. Compensation awaits tomorrow.
Selections: 12.00 Atomix; 1.10 Rev Up Ruby; 1.40 Bright Prospect; 2.15 Forth Bridge.