Flexing muscles for Everest bid
EVERGREEN sprinter Ball Of Muscle made a late bid for a place in The Everest with an all-the-way win in The Shorts at Randwick yesterday.
The Joe Pride-trained eight-year-old pushed his case for next month's $13 million showcase when he lowered the colours of Everest hopefuls Invincible Star (second), Brave Smash (third) and English (sixth) to take out the 1100m Group 2 feature.
The trainer admitted there hasn’t been any interest in Ball Of Muscle but with his sprinter continuing to win, it might change the thinking of slot holders Max Whitby and Neil Werrett, who are yet to determine their sprinter for the world’s richest turf race.
“Ball Of Muscle might be an eight-year-old but he has been lightly raced, he has never been going better and it would be great if he could get a start in The Everest,’’ Pride said.
“Some of these other horses may or may not have performed at Randwick but this horse is extremely consistent. He’s very fast and will give a sight.”
Jockey Glyn Schofield said: “He’s beaten Everest horses in his last two starts.”
Ball Of Muscle ($5) held off the late surge of Invincible Star ($2.70 favourite) to win by a half head, with Brave Smash ($4.40) less than a length away third.
The Kosciuszko hopefuls After All That and The Monstar ran fourth and fifth respectively, with English tiring late for sixth.
Redzel, the defending Everest champion, was withdrawn from The Shorts yesterday morning after he was found to have some muscle soreness.
James McDonald, rider of Invincible Star, said the mare was on target for The Everest after she bungled the start and still ran a close second.
“I was very happy with that, she was unlucky not to win,’’ McDonald said.
Hugh Bowman, rider of the Darren Weir-trained Brave Smash, described his sprinter’s effort as “superb’’.
HAVING A BALL: Ball Of Muscle holds off Invincible Star to win The Shorts yesterday.