After an absence of more than two years and a string of minor placings, classy sprinter Ball Of Muscle has made his way back to the winner’s stall on the big stage at Flemington.
The $2.50 favourite in Thursday’s Listed Absolut Stakes over the straight 1000 metres, the Joe Pride-trained Ball Of Muscle was taken straight to the front by Glyn Schofield and dominated the race.
He had 1-3/4 lengths to spare over Crystal Dreamer ($5.50) with Palazzo Pubblico ($17) another half head third.
“There’s a chance he could go to Perth for the Winterbottom Stakes in December but I’d also like to get him back here for the Lightning Stakes,” Pride said.
“We know how well he goes down the straight.
“He’s a horse who has been running well against the likes of Chautauqua and Buffering but I think 1000 to 1100 metres is his best.
“I think he’s got a couple of years left in him at the top level and it’s good to win this race after Terravista was just beaten in it last year by Redzel.”
Terravista, who runs in Saturday’s Group One Darley Classic, is a half-brother to Ball Of Muscle and a full sibling to Tiger Tees, with all three trained by Pride.
Ball Of Muscle’s most recent win before Thursday was in the Group Two QTC Cup at Doomben in May 2015 when he was ridden by Schofield.
“He’s well named and he’s very quick,” Schofield said.
“He wanted to run to the outside rail, which is what he’s used to. That wasn’t always the plan, but he was travelling so comfortably that I was happy for him to go there.”
“It’s surprising he’s been winless for so long, but Joe seems to have got the best out of him now.
“He’s really hit some good form this preparation, so I’m really pleased he’s got the win under his belt because he deserves it.”