Joe Pride will have Ball Of Muscle and Craftiness in the 2015 Concorde Stakes field and the leading trainer is happy with both sprinters ahead of their return to racing in the Group 2 event this weekend.
Ball Of Muscle worked his way through the grades impressively over the summer period and he made his debut at Group level with a second place finish behind Srikandi in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) at the Gold Coast on April 25 before he led from start to finish to take out the Group 2 QTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on May 30.
The Dubawi gelding was sent to the spelling paddock following his QTC Cup win, but he showed that he was ready for a return to racing when he won a barrier trial over 807 metres at Warwick Farm on August 28 and Pride told Sky Racing HQ that he believes the consistent sprinter will prove very tough to beat in the Concorde Stakes this weekend.
“He is a fantastic horse and he is a real star in the making,” Pride said.
“He is yet to miss a place from 12 or 13 starts and he found his mark in the short races, I think that he really likes the short course.
“It is over 1000 metres Saturday and I think that he will be really hard to beat.
“He only had three weeks off after Brisbane and he is in good order.
“Ball Of Muscle will be going to the Moir second-up, so a 1000 metre race a month after that is ideal.”
Ball Of Muscle will be joined in the 2015 Concorde Stakes field by Craftiness, who was sent to the spelling paddock after he finished at the tail of the field in the One Solutions Handicap (1350m) at Rosehill Gardens on May 9.
Craftiness recorded four straight wins and finished second in the Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 18 before his poor effort in Sydney, but Pride could not have been happier with the way that the Starcraft gelding trialed at Warwick Farm on Friday.
“I thought that he trialed better than I even thought he would on Friday and he is a really promising horse,” Pride said.
“He has only ever run the one bad race at the end of last preparation with a big weight over 1400, but he is back in the sprints.
“It is not an easy assignment for him first-up chasing Ball Of Muscle, but he has to resume somewhere and he is a very promising horse.”
Ball Of Muscle is set to make his Group 1 debut in the Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on October 2 following the Concorde Stakes, but Pride is yet to decide on the path that Craftiness will follow during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.