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Ball of Muscle states his Everest case

4 min read
For the second week in a row, a bold front-runner has put forward their case for the final spot in the $13 million TAB Everest at Randwick next month.

Veteran sprinter Ball of Muscle (Dubawi {Ire}), better known as the speedy little brother of Group 1 winning sprinters Terravista and Tiger Tees, has put a strong case forward for Max Whitby and Neil Werrett's final slot in The Everest after an all-the-way win in The Bowerman Office Furniture Shorts at Randwick.

The 8-year-old has beaten five Everest runners in his past two starts, with his success on Saturday adding to his victory in the G3 Heath at Caulfield two weeks ago.

Remarkably, it was the fourth time Ball of Muscle had contested The Shorts, with the past three resulting in seconds.

“It’s funny to see an 8-year-old in what looks to be career-best form but it would be hard to argue that,” trainer Joe Pride said.

“He just comes out really quick, his foot’s flat from the word go," jockey Glyn Schofield

Pieces fall into place

With Redzel (Snitzel) withdrawn on race morning, the speed map of the race had changed and then was completely thrown out the window when Invincible Star (I Am Invincible) missed the start slightly, ruining plans for her to roll to the front.

Ball of Muscle certainly didn’t loaf in front, but allowed to set a tempo without pressure to his outside, it certainly a made it an easier assignment.

“He just comes out really quick, his foot’s flat from the word go," jockey Glyn Schofield said.

"I was lucky that I could gather him mid race and while he wanted to high-roll, I just was able to hold onto him for 100m or so around the side and he just found enough late.”

Ball of Muscle had enough to just repel Invincible Star on the line with Brave Smash (Jpn) (Tosen Phantom {Jpn}) making good late progress for third. Another Everest-bound sprinter, English (Encosta De Lago), was down the track in sixth.

Putting the case forward

Seven days ago it was Home Of The Brave (Ire) (Starspangledbanner) - in beating current The Everest favourite Trapeze Artist (Snitzel) - who put himself in the Everest picture. On Saturday, it was Ball of Muscle doing the same.

"He’s racing in career-best form and he would give a great sight (In The Everest)." - Joe Pride on Ball Of Muscle

And Pride is confident that he has the attributes and the form to be more than competitive.

“He’s a horse who makes his own luck while other horses, you could make the case for the filly to be unlucky, but he puts himself in the spot. He’s a very fast horse and most effective at Randwick,” he said.

“He’s racing in career-best form and he would give a great sight (In The Everest). 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.”

Schofield, who has now engineered two feature sprint upsets with Home Of The Brave and Ball of Muscle in the space of two weeks, is also confident Ball of Muscle would measure up.

Ball of Muscle beats Invincible Star

The beaten brigade

Jockey James McDonald was pleased with Invincible Star's second-up run off a 10-month spell, especially after she missed the jump. He felt it was a significant improvement on when she set the pace and was easily beaten by Redzel in the G3 Concorde S.

It was similar story for Brave Smash, last year's third place getter in The Everest, who improved off his run in Caulfield.

English's preparation for her first-up run was not ideal after she lost a plate going to the barriers, but jockey Tim Clark was confident that she was still on track to peak in the Everest.

"She just blew out late a few of them other horses had had a run, she will improve a lot from it," he said.

"It wasn’t ideal losing the plate at the gates and she pulled a bit of foot off as well but getting to The Everest she will be alright.”