Speedster Ball Of Muscle is set to show his strength at Randwick on Saturday as he tackles open company for the first time in the $85,000 TAB Rewards Plate (1000m).
Ball Of Muscle has created quite an impression with Sydney racegoers with five wins from seven starts including a last start all the way win on November 8 over Saturday’s course and distance.
Warwick Farm trainer Joe Pride was tempted to test the four year old out against Stakes class horses in the Listed $100,000 Razor Sharp (1200m) at Randwick but in the end decided to give him one more run against easier company.
“I wouldn’t do that to him, and there are a couple of nice races after this like the Canterbury Classic or the Takeover Target Stakes, but I want to see how he goes on Saturday first,” Pride told The Daily Telegraph.
“I’m a big believer in grabbing the money with them. If you look at the Listed race on Saturday, it’s worth $60,000 to the winner, this race is worth $48,000 to the winner, and you’d only get smashed by the handicapper for running in a Listed race. It’s not worth it.’’
If Ball Of Muscle races up to Pride’s expectation on Saturday, he will then step him up to Listed company and has picked out the Listed $100,000 Canterbury Classic (1200m) at Canterbury on December 27 and the Listed $100,000 De Bortoli Wines Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) at Gosford two weeks later.
Pride is not concerned that Ball Of Muscle is heading to the races for the first time in five weeks and topped him off for Saturday’s contest with an easy barrier trial third over 740m at Warwick Farm on Monday.
“It’s only 1000m, so he’ll be fine,” said Pride.
“Had there been a race for him three weeks after his first-up run, I would have run him, but that wasn’t the case. He’s from a good fresh breed, that gives me confidence doing this, but it wasn’t for that reason.”
It is no surprise that Ball Of Muscle has shown above average ability as he is closely related to Pride’s Group 1 winners, full brother Tiger Tees and half-brother Terravista.
“He’s a big strong boy who has a build somewhere between Tiger and ‘Terry’,” Pride said.
Ball Of Muscle has been allocated the top weight of 58kgs under the set weights and penalties conditions of the TAB Rewards Plate and has drawn barrier seven in the ten horse field with Glyn Schofield to ride again.