Rather than hope The Shorts is a case of third time lucky for Ball Of Muscle, Joe Pride has adopted a pragmatic approach.
The seven-year-old has finished runner-up in the Group Two The Shorts sprint (1100m) for the past two years at Randwick and given the composition of Saturday’s field, another second would be a good outcome.
Redzel, Chautauqua, English and Fell Swoop are all on the way to the $10 million Everest on October 14.
Ball Of Muscle, who races for the first time since March, was beaten by Rebel Dane in the 2015 Shorts by a half head.
Last year Takedown prevailed by a long head.
Pride admitted it would be challenging to replicate those runs in a field of the quality the gelding faces on Saturday.
“I guess if you’ve got to meet these sorts of horses, meeting them a month out from their peak run is the time to get them,” Pride said.
“He’s a good horse at Randwick and 1100 metres but he’s been disappointing for a little while.”
Ball Of Muscle had been plagued by feet problems but Pride was confident they are no longer an issue.
“I really feel he’s got his feet right and if his trial the other day was anything to go off he might be on the right track with that,” he said.
Ball Of Muscle is a sibling to the Pride-trained Group One-winning sprinters Tiger Tees and Terravista, the latter the winner of The Shorts two years ago..