Trainer Joe Pride is confident that Ball Of Muscle will turn-the-tables on Barbed when the pair clash again in the 2015 Takeover Target Stakes at Gosford this afternoon.
Ball Of Muscle started his summer campaign with two impressive wins at Royal Randwick, but he suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of Barbed when he made his debut at Listed level in the Canterbury Classic (1200m) at Canterbury on December 27.
The Dubawi gelding has not suffered two defeats from his three race starts over 1200 metres, but Pride remains confident that the four-year-old is capable of running out the trip strongly and can return to winning form in the Takeover Target Stakes.
“It is there to be answered today,” Pride told Sky Racing HQ.
“The horse that beat him the other day had a nice cold run off his back and I figured that is why he ran him down.
“He has been beaten twice 1200 and they are on trial at it again today.
“He is a very strong horse and his brothers both run a nice 1200 metres, so I would like to think he would as well.
“Barbed has a tricky draw today and I would be surprised if he could beat us again, although I have a healthy respect for him.
“It is a good lineup, there is a good steady lineup there and around Gosford luck plays a big part.”
Ball Of Muscle has taken up the running in all eight of his race starts since he finished second behind Gallant Eagle on debut in the Thorzt Electrolyte Drink Handicap (900m) at Newcastle in November 23, but Pride revealed that he would be happy to see jockey Glyn Schofield take a sit on the half-brother of Terravista and allow the likes of Howmuchdoyouloveme to take up the running in the early stages of the Takeover Target Stakes.
“I think the horse that gets the right run in an even field will obviously come out on top,” Pride said.
“There is a bit of speed drawn inside of us and today might end up being the day that we end up taking a sit.
“I will be leaving that to Glyn, he has to work that out as the race unfolds.”
Ball Of Muscle is currently available at 2015 Takeover Target Stakes odds of $2.50 and is a clear favourite from Barbed ($5), Miniature ($8) and Cradle Me ($8).