Ball Of Muscle impressed in a jump out at Warwick Farm yesterday morning and he is on track to return to the races in the 2016 Challenge Stakes.
Ball Of Muscle contested the second barrier trial of the morning over 804 metres and he took up the running in the early stages from stablemate Terravista and talented mare Bounding.
Jockey Tim Clark kept Ball Of Muscle under a heavy hold throughout and he was unable to hold out Terravista or Exosphere, but he still found the line strongly in a performance that impressed trainer Joe Pride.
Pride has always been confident that Ball Of Muscle is capable of recording a win at the highest level of racing and he said that the Dubawi gelding could take on the best sprinters in the country in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 20, but would likely be saved for the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick on March 5 and the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 19.
“He has been flying under the radar, but I thought his trial was excellent,” Pride said.
“I haven’t ruled out running him in the Lightning, but I think at this stage he will retrial in the 22nd and bob up in the Challenge on his way to The Galaxy.
“I have only run him in one Group 1 and he just went down to Buffering at Moonee Valley under lights and it is not easy to beat Buffering there.
“He is a very good horse in his own right.”
Ball Of Muscle made his racing debut with a second place finish at Newcastle in November of 2013 and he worked his way through the grades impressively before he scored a maiden black type win in the Listed Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) at Gosford on January 9 last year.
He finished second behind Srikandi in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) at the Gold Coast on April 25 before he scored the biggest win of his racing career in the Group 2 QTC Cup (1200m) to conclude his winter campaign.
Ball Of Muscle started his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a third place finish behind Shiraz in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick on September 5 and he went on to perform well without winning in the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) at Royal Randwick on September 19, the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on October 2 and the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1000m) on October 17.