Atmospherical turns it on at Kembla Grange


He'll go down as a footnote in the history of unbeaten White Sage and Mitchell Bell was warned not to get too attached to another royally-bred filly before a winning debut at Kembla Grange.

Such was the impression Atmospherical made in four barrier trials, the filly's regular hoop Jay Ford had joked with Bell he would only be warming the seat on the three-year-old.

And Ford might have a few more rivals when it comes to Atmospherical's next rider after the odds-on favourite scored a lightning-quick win in the Maiden Plate (1200m).

Bell's role is a common lot for leading provincial hoops; steer a promising youngster to a soft kill early in their career before handing over to the big boys.

He did the same with John O'Shea's White Sage, a seven-length victor on debut at Kembla. White Sage has an unblemished record since, capped by a last-start Festival Stakes success.

"White Sage was really quick and did everything perfect," Bell said.

"I won't put [Atmospherical] on par with her and it's just her greenness here today which is what splits them. White Sage already knew everything she was supposed to be doing straight away."

If bloodlines count for anything, Atmospherical can hit every inch of the heights White Sage has already scaled. She's a half-sister to stakes-winning mares Gai's Choice and Peron, who coincidentally both won Ipswich's Gai Waterhouse Classic during the Queensland winter carnival.

Atmospherical's value would increase exponentially with a similar black type success considering she is out of ill-fated sire Northern Meteor.

The filly drew the outside alley on Saturday, but Bell was able to amble across to sit one off the fence and just behind the speed set by Ron Leemon's first-starter Star Of Excellence and topweight Beyond All ($21).

Atmospherical ($1.40 out to $1.70) raced greenly down the straight, but did enough to charge home to beat Beyond All by 1¼ lengths. That pair gapped the rest, with Steam Machine ($8.50) running on well for third almost six lengths adrift.

"She reminds me of a miler, almost like a Doncaster horse with her build," Bell said. "That's way beyond what they've probably got in mind, but she gives me that impression once she gets older and matures a bit.

"She looks like she's got a bit of growing to do, too. For a horse that is that big already it's only a positive."

The class record-winning effort was only four-tenths of a second adrift of Emila's 1000-metre track record, with Beyond All's trainer Gwenda Markwell full of praise for the winner.

"She was one of the best-looking horses I've seen walk into the Kembla yard for years," Markwell said.

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