Joe Pride is happy to bypass the Perth Summer Racing Carnival features with his consistent sprinter Ball Of Muscle who has gone to the paddock ahead of an autumn campaign targeting Sydney’s The Galaxy 2015 in March.
A five-year-old son of Dubawi, Ball Of Muscle is yet to finish out of the money in his 17 career starts that have produced eight wins, six seconds and three thirds for $596,225 in prize money.
The gelding’s latest win was back in May during the winter in Brisbane when taking out the Group 2 QTC Cup (1200m).
This time in he had four spring runs for two thirds and two seconds including finishing runner-up to grand old campaigner Buffering in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley in early October.
Last time out the galloper was third to Lumosty in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1000m) on October 17, after which Pride made the call not to take him over to Perth for a shot at the $1 million Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot Racecourse on Railway Stakes Day, November 21.
“He put in a tired run last start down in Melbourne and he’s not a horse to do that so I figured he’d had enough,” Pride told Racenet this week.
The Warwick Farm-based Pride couldn’t be happier with the decision not to press onto Perth with Ball Of Muscle, believing he’ll be even better when he returns for a Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign.
The Moir Stakes last month was the horse’s first shot in elite level company but Pride has a couple of Group 1 targets on the agenda for his return.
The main focus will be the $400,000 Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) run on Golden Slipper Day at Rosehill Gardens in late March.
Pride prepared Tiger Tees for a The Galaxy win in 2014 and so will be attempting his second success in three years next autumn having also run second to the Gai Waterhouse-trained Sweet Idea this year with Kuro.
Tiger Tees came out of an unplaced run in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick before his Group 1 victory, a Randwick Guineas Day lead-up that Ball Of Muscle could also run in next year.
Pride is also considering a first-up run for The Galaxy-bound sprinter in the $500,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lighting Stakes (1000m) at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne in late February, a race renamed in honour of three-time winning mare Black Caviar (2011-13).
“He’s in the paddock already and he’ll come back for the Galaxy and could possibly resume in either the Lightning or the Challenge,” Pride said.
The Lightning Stakes has produced just two The Galaxy winners in the past 17 years with Masked Party (7th in 1999) and Spark Of Life (10th in 2004).
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