Ball Of Muscle recorded the biggest win of his racing career to date by breaking the 1200 metre track record in the 2015 Takeover Target Stakes at Gosford this afternoon.
Ball Of Muscle has led in all but one of his eight previous starts, but Blake Shinn elected to take up the running on Barbed in the early stages of the race and set a very quick tempo, while Glyn Schofield settled Ball Of Muscle just behind the leader.
At the 800 metre mark Hugh Bowman made an aggressive ride around the outside of the field on That’s A Good Idea and the three sprinters were locked in an old-fashioned dogfight coming into the straight, while Territory loomed on the outside.
Ball Of Muscle and That’s A Good Idea traded the lead back and forths in the final 200 metres, but Ball Of Muscle was too strong in the final stages of the race and he held on to score a narrow win from That’s A Good Idea and Territory in track record time.
Trainer Joe Pride admitted after the race that he was worried when Ball Of Muscle was unable to hold his customary position at the front of the field, but was thrilled with the versatility showed by the Dubawi gelding in the Takeover Target Stakes.
“I didn’t like it in the end and I didn’t want to be there, but he showed a bit of versatility there today and a toughness to hang on,” Pride said.
“It was an exciting race, there were a few tactic changes there, but thankfully we came out on top.
“It was a good tough win, full credit to the opposition there, but I think my bloke was just a bit too big and too strong.”
Schofield steered Mamwaazel to a narrow victory in the Group 3 Belle Of The Turf Stakes one race earlier at Gosford and was once again forced to throw everything at his mount to record back-to-back feature race wins in the Takeover Target Stakes.
The veteran hoop has now recorded five wins from as many starts on Ball Of Muscle and has a high opinion of the half-brother to Tiger Tees, but admitted that the gelding may have reach his level at Listed grade this preparation.
“I know that he is a high class horse, he hit a bit of a blip last start over 1200 and he set track record time today, but he only just fell in,” Schofield said.
“I suppose at this stage of his career that is probably his limitation.
“We were running along at a good clip and when Hughie whipped around me I knew that we would have something to chase.
“I know that That’s A Good Idea is a hard horse to get past and I only just managed to get past him.”
Schofield will have the chance to sweet the feature races at Gosford this afternoon when he partners Multilateral in the Gosford Cup.