It’s been almost two years since Ball Of Muscle won a race and his trainer admits he has been disappointed by his recent form.
Joe Pride is looking for a turnaround in the Listed Canterbury Classic (1200m) on Saturday with a sprinter he knows has the ability to perform at the highest level.
Ball Of Muscle is a sibling to the Pride-trained Group One winners Terravista and Tiger Tees but has yet to live up to the family name.
“I was a little bit disappointed by his spring,” Pride said.
“He ran a good second to Takedown but then his next two starts were not what I was expecting.
“I thought the best way to get him back in winning form was to bring him back in grade – not that this is an easy race by any means.
“But he hasn’t won for a very long time and I’d like to see him do it.”
Ball Of Muscle has raced twice at Group One level, running second to Buffering in the 2015 Moir Stakes and sixth behind Extreme Choice this year.
His last win was in the Takeover Target Stakes at Gosford in January 2015 and his second to subsequent Winterbottom Stakes winner Takedown came in The Shorts at Randwick in September.
Pride hasn’t lost faith in Ball Of Muscle and neither have punters with the front-running gelding the $5 equal favourite alongside the Kim Waugh-trained His Majesty, a last-start third in the Listed Razor Sharp behind The Monstar and Canterbury Classic runner Sirbible.
While he is looking for improvement from Ball Of Muscle, Pride has stablemate I Am Zelady primed for her return with three barrier trial wins behind her.
If she lives up to those trials, I Am Zelady could head to the Magic Millions race day at the Gold Coast two weeks later.
“I wouldn’t underestimate her,” Pride said.
“If she goes wel,l we will certainly look at the Magic Millions Sprint or the fillies and mares race but we are also looking to the autumn with her.”