Joe Pride’s consistent sprint star Ball Of Muscle had come up trumps with barrier one for his returning run in Saturday’s Challenge Stakes 2016 on Randwick Guineas Day in Sydney.
The five-year-old son of Dubawi is one of 11 final acceptors for the $500,000 Group 2 Hyland Race Colours Challenge Stakes (1000m) that is due to run as Randwick Race 8 at 4:50pm (AEDT).
Tim Clark has the mount from the inside alley on the gelding who runs for the first time since his third to Lumosty in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1000m) in Melbourne last October.
Prior to that the eight-time winner was runner-up to Buffering in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley, while his last Randwick run produced a second to Rebel Dane in the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) when nosed out of the win in September.
Ball Of Muscle won a 802m Warwick Farm trial on February 22 ahead of his return this weekend where he will look to add to his excellent Randwick (4-2-1-1), 1000m (6-2-2-2) and first-up (5-2-2-1) records.
Also drawn a treat in barrier two is the Anthony Cummings-trained Commands mare Rule The River, the four-year-old another Randwick specialist boasting two wins and a second from three runs at the track.
Her last start was in early January at Gosford when third to Howmuchdoyouloveme in the Listed Takeover Target Stakes (1200m), Saturday just her second black-type run and maiden Group race assignment.
Coming off back-to-back wins over the track and distance in easier class is the Kris Lees-trained Newcastle sprinter Felines, another four-year-old mare looking to beat home the better credentialed boys in the field.
Her last win was by an easy three lengths over Craftiness on February 6 earning her a shot in the Group 2 on the weekend where she shoots for her seventh win from nine runs over the distance.
Four three-year-old sprinters take on the older runners in the Challenge Stakes field this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival including the Gai Waterhouse-trained Speak Fondly.
The daughter of Northern Meteor hasn’t raced since her narrow elite level victory over Honesta in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) over the Randwick mile in the spring.
She was runner-up the start before behind Exosphere in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) and is also a dual Group 2 winner over 1200m at Randwick completing last year’s Silver Shadow Stakes – Furious Stakes double.
Her records stands at four wins, two seconds and a third from eight career starts including an impressive three wins and a third from four Randwick runs.
She also trialled impressively with a winning Randwick hit-out over 837m on February 19 so looks spot on for her first shot at a 1000m win on the weekend.
The other female youngsters in the field are Speak Fondly’s stablemate English and the John O’Shea-trained Ottoman drawn in barriers six and four respectively.
Tommy Berry rides lightly-raced Encosta De Lago filly English who comes off a trial win at the track from last month over Golden Slipper fancy Capitalist.
She was runner-up to Vancouver in last autumn’s Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill before a last start sixth beaten five lengths by Pride Of Dubai in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.
English is a Group 2 Randwick winner from last March when she defeated fellow Challenge Stakes rival Ottoman, the Godolphin-raced daughter of Exceed And Excel who runs for the first time since a Group 3 fourth at Flemington during November’s Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Check out the full Challenge Stakes 2016 field, barriers, jockeys and weights below before opening a new account at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $500 first time depositors’ bonus with use of the code BETBONUS!
2016 Challenge Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 8 (4:50pm) – 05/03/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x221x3223x||BALL OF MUSCLE||Joseph Pride||Tim Clark||1||58.5kg||106|
|2||227042270x||LORD OF THE SKY||Robbie Laing||TBA||5||58.5kg||105|
|3||15x111136x||SHIRAZ||Tony McEvoy||Hugh Bowman||7||58.5kg||105|
|4||x1120x3415||BOSS LANE||Ron Quinton||Christian Reith||8||58.5kg||100|
|5||40x25x20x6||VA PENSIERO||Jason Coyle||Jason Collett||11||58.5kg||100|
|6||31933×1611||FELINES||Kris Lees||Brenton Avdulla||10||56.5kg||92|
|7||5x12x11113||RULE THE RIVER||Anthony Cummings||Blake Shinn||2||56.5kg||90|
|8||21x16x||KINGLIKE||Peter G Moody||TBA||9||56kg||89|
|9||x210x1121x||SPEAK FONDLY||Gai Waterhouse||Kerrin McEvoy||3||54kg||105|
|10||1126x||ENGLISH||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||6||54kg||95|
|11||x4291x374x||OTTOMAN||John O’Shea||James McDonald||4||54kg||86|