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He might have been beaten at his first stakes test but Ball Of Muscle showed his trainer he is a genuine contender.

Although obviously disappointed the favourite could not win Saturday’s Canterbury Classic (1200m), trainer Joe Pride may give him another attempt in Listed class as soon as next week.

Pride said he would enter Ball Of Muscle in the Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) at Gosford on January 9.

The four-year-old was nabbed by Barbed near the line at Canterbury after leading until the final couple of strides.

“I thought he was really good for his first go at a stakes race,” Pride said.

“He just found one too strong.

“I would rather he had won but there was plenty to like about his effort.

“We will nominate for the Takeover Target and see how he is closer to the day.

“He has been to Gosford before and won there so I know he can handle the track.”

Ball Of Muscle has never been out of the placings with his record now six wins, two seconds and a third from nine starts.

He is a full brother to Group One winner Tiger Tees and a half brother to Terravista, also a winner at the highest level.

“Tiger is back and looks great as does Terravista,” Pride said.

“We will try to find wet tracks for Tiger while we will stick to the plan to run Terravista first-up in the Newmarket Handicap in March.”

Pride has also welcomed Rain Affair back to his Warwick Farm stable.

Runner-up in four Group One races, Rain Affair lost his way last autumn and had just one start in the spring when third in the Concorde Stakes.

Like Tiger Tees, Rain Affair is at his best on wet tracks with seven wins from eight starts on soft tracks and two from four on heavy.

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