A number of the top-fancied mares to take out...
Ball of Muscle has made it two-from-two at the 1100m journey, capturing the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
Running just one second off the course record in a time of 1:02.54, the eight-year old gelding stormed past second-elect Snitty Kitty one off the fence, and kicked away down the straight to win comfortably by three quarters of a length.
Jockey Craig Williams admits he had some doubts after Ball of Muscle drew a less than favourable barrier, but always knew his ride was a chance even at $9.00 odds.
“This horse has done a great job, he’s very well named, I thought they named him after me” Williams joked after the race.
“He’s been very well handled by his trainer and his staff, just shows you how dominant he was.
“He didn’t draw the best gate but we discussed before the race it might look ugly, but it’ll suit him, so we just worried about riding the race and I asked him to quicken around the bend and he was very solid over the 1100.”
Already nominated for the $1 million VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 10, Ball of Muscle has already firmed from $21 into $11 with Ladbrokes.
A step back up to the Group 1 level was always next up should Ball of Muscle run well on Saturday, and trainer Joseph Pride gives full credit to his stable.
“The three brothers that have trained him have been the backbone to the stable for sort of seven or eight years” Pride told Racing.com.
“I was pretty nervous today, he came off a failure last start and it’s always tough back in the judgement to bring him back to another interstate trip two weeks’ later, but felt like everything is right for him at home.”
For punters that backed the veteran runner in September’s Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m), a race that Ball of Muscle ran last in, Pride also shed some light on the poor performance.
“He’s in career best form, I think what happened at Moonee Valley the other night, for those that saw him and were a bit disappointed, he was caught back on the inside and it was something very foreign for him” Pride said.
With Williams on board instead of Glyn Schofield on Saturday, the decision to sit up on the pace early proved the winning factor. The pair drove through an early hole to sit behind early leader Snitty Kitty, as it now appears Ball of Muscle is quite well suited to the Caulfield track.
“He does go pretty well at Randwick, but he likes Caulfield, clearly. Maybe a couple more trips back here at some point as well” Pride said after the win.
Full VRC Sprint odds can be seen below.
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