A capacity field of Stradbroke Handicap hopefuls...
There was nothing in it, but eight-year-old gelding Ball of Muscle pulled off the upset over odds on favourite Redzel at Randwick on Saturday.
The Challenge Stakes (1000m) winner won by a nose at the line over the champion sprinter, coming through for punters who took a chance at $11.00 odds.
Ball of Muscle, who was first-up on Saturday, sat on the speed challenging Jungle Edge at the 600m mark. Jockey Glyn Schofield found an extra gear down the straight, while Redzel left things a little too late over the final furlong.
“I went past the line and Kerrin (McEvoy) and I looked at each-other and said ‘did you get it?’, so we weren’t sure either, but what a race” Schofield said.
“It was beneficial that he drew the inside line, we probably would have led regardless because he shows so much natural speed, but to fight off Redzel is no mean feat, and of course, he’s tuned to the minute as well as my fella.”
Beating Redzel is one thing, but winning trainer Joe Pride was more proud of Ball of Muscle’s strong return after bleeding following a win in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes back in October.
“Really proud of this horse. A lot of work has gone into him and very proud of the team at home and this horse. He’s old but age hasn’t weared him” Pride said after the race.
“If he could talk he would tell us. We just take the best care of him that we can. The rest takes care of itself.”
Despite running second, there’s no knock on Redzel. The $1.60 favourite looked in pristine condition hitting the line strongly on the outside, but it was yet another reminder not to underestimate the natural speed of Ball of Muscle.
As for the plan ahead, Pride thinks a step back up to Group 1 level on Golden Slipper day in The Galaxy (1100m) is more than likely.
“I think so. It is the obvious next move for him. It’s never really been his favourite track Rosehill but we will certainly have to give it some deep consideration” Pride went on to say.
Nature Strip remains the odds on favourite for the race at $3.80.
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