Jockey Glyn Schofield won’t be taking the Joe Pride-trained Ball Of Muscle to the front in Friday’s 2015 Takeover Target Stakes just for the sake of it with the classy sprinter good enough to sit back off the speed as well.
Schofield boasts a perfect four-from-four winning record aboard the four-year-old Dubawi gelding who is put to the test on Gosford Cup Day this Friday in the $100,000 Listed De Bortoli Wines Takeover Target Stakes (1200m).
The hoop first rode the horse to victory at Hawkesbury in December of 2011 combining for three more victories since including two at Royal Randwick this spring – summer season.
First-up he took control of the race early in a Benchmark 85 over 1000m on November 8 when kicking clear at the 300m to win by an easy one and three-quarter lengths before returning 35 days later over the same track and distance to do it again this time by closer margin over Miniature.
While those runs saw Schofield take the horse to the front early, he said on Friday from barrier five of 12 if there is more speed from rivals including noted speedsters Howmuchdoyouloveme (barrier two) and That’s A Good Idea (barrier three) he won’t be pushing his mount to take up front running.
“I will ride him to his strengths,” Schofield told Racenet.
“He has basically led in all his races to date, but he’s getting up in grade now and I don’t think I have to lead.
“If there are one or two quicker drawn inside or outside then I won’t be trying to lead just for the sake of it.”
Last time out Ball Of Muscle was stepped up to the 1200m for the second time in his nine-start career with Jason Collett taking over for the suspended Schofield.
Showing his usual speed the horse was up in front and led into the straight but when he went for a final ate kick he let the John O’Shea-trained Barbed out from behind and was just beaten by a neck in the Listed Canterbury Classic (1200m).
That was the first time the horse had the winkers off and was also Ball Of Muscle’s first black-type assignment.
While the class is there, his Warwick Farm-based trainer Pride still needs convincing he’s a genuine 1200m horse with his other run over the distance being an unpersuasive victory over Britalia Kate in a no-maiden-wins Canterbury race in June last winter where he tired late in the restricted grade showdown.
“This race will determine what he does in the future,” Pride said.
“It won’t tell me anything about his class, he is going to make a top-shelf 1000 metres or 1100 metres horse, I’ve got no doubt about that, but I need to know if he can make it at 1200 metres, so this will tell me one way or the other.”
Schofield however believes off what the horse showed last time out he’ll get the distance no worries.
“He will be much better for that experience gained last start at Canterbury,” he said.
“I’m confident he will get a strong 1200 metres.”
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