Trainer Joe Pride has confirmed plans to target the Moir Stakes 2015 at Moonee Valley Racecourse this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival with his rising five-year-old Ball Of Muscle.
The talented Dubawi gelding has to date won eight of his 13 starts and is yet to finish out of the money with four seconds and a third also on the record.
Only stepped up to black type company in late December during the summer, Ball Of Muscle most recently made an impact during his two run Queensland Winter Racing Carnival campaign.
At the Gold Coast on Anzac Day he crossed second to subsequent dual Group 1 winning mare Srikandi in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m).
Then next up in his latest run he went to Doomben on May 30 and beat home That’s A Good Idea by a quarter-length in the Group 2 QTC Cup (1200m).
Sent for a pre-spring spell after the Group 2 success that boosted his prize money earned up over $444,000, Ball Of Muscle will this time in be aimed at an elite level win in the $450,000 Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) under the lights at Moonee Valley on Friday October 2.
The breeding is right for a Group 1 win, Ball Of Muscle a younger brother to superstar sprinters Terravista and Tiger Tees, and so is the shortened distance of this year’s Moir Stakes according to Pride.
“The Moir Stakes is back to 1000 metres this year which is just ideal for him,” the trainer told AAP.
“I’ll study the program but he could even go there first-up.
“I was very pleased to see they had changed the distance from 1200 metres.”
The Moir Stakes distance decrease was one of a number of spring changes announced by Racing Victoria last month that have proven popular with trainers.
Another was the increased distance of the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes, which has now lured last year’s Australian Racehorse of the Year Lankan Rupee.
Pride prepares both 2014 Darley Classic winner Terravista and 2014 The Galaxy winner Tiger Tees, who are referred to around the stable as Terry and Tiger, while Ball Of Muscle is simply The Cub.
All three stablemates share a dam in Parfore whose other notable progeny includes Singapore star Super Easy and former stakes winning Queenslander Our Lukas.
Ball Of Muscle meanwhile shares a sire with Tiger Tees in Dubawi, while Terravista is by Captain Rio.
A rising six-year-old and winner of close to $1.5 million in prize money over 16 career starts, Terravista hasn’t raced since a disappointing second last when 12th behind Dissident in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 18.
Pride confirmed plans for a $1 million Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) title defense down the Flemington straight in early November for the horse who beat home Chautauqua by a neck in the Emirates Stakes Day feature last year.
“I’m in no rush with Terravista,” Pride said.
“Everything is aimed at the Darley. It’s the best sprint of the spring.”
As for seven-year-old Tiger Tees, Pride said his swansong could be fast approaching but that he would give the old warhorse one last chance after a disappointing autumn when dead last in both the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (eighth) and Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (10th) at Randwick.
“Tiger Tees might be coming to the end but we’ll give him another preparation to find out,” he said.
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