The judge couldn’t split Miracles Of Life and Bel Sprinter in the Caulfield Sprint last year and despite only a small field to contest, we’ll see a very competitive edition of the race on Saturday as well according to the early markets. Four of the eight runners are vying for favouritism with Joe Pride’s Ball Of Muscle ($3.30) currently leading the way narrowly from Lumosty ($3.50). Right behind them both is Kuro ($4.60) and the promising Kinglike ($5.50) who was the subject of good support as soon as markets opened him up at $7.50.
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1. BALL OF MUSCLE – G Schofield (4) 58kgs
It has taken some very smart performers to stop this consistent 5yo from winning one of the three races he has contested this campaign. First up he was beaten by Shiraz (3rd in the Concorde Stakes), before being caught right on the line by Rebel Dane in the G2 The Shorts. It then took Buffering in the Moir Stakes to keep him out of the winner’s circle, falling a half a length short despite chasing the winning valiantly all of the way. Going very well, drawn perfectly and despite the top-weight will be hard to beat.
2. KURO – J McDonald (7) 55.5kgs
Forget his first up eighth (4.2 lengths) behind Chautauqua where, for some reason known only to the Jock, he cut back to the fence for a run and ran straight into a pocket. The Freedman trained galloper than contested an Open (1100m) and under 59.5kgs from barrier ten, went within a long neck of winning, running third to Sabatini. Good effort last start and has been placed behind the likes of Brazen Beau, Sweet Idea and more recently, Ball Of Muscle. He has drawn a little awkwardly here in seven though with plenty of speed inside of him probably see him settling off the speed and giving some slick sprinters a start.
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3. LUMOSTY – D Dunn (8) 54kgs
Connections enjoying a great run at the moment (Politeness, Digitalism) and will be eager to see this gifted sprinter return from her seventeen week spell. Last time we saw here she chased home Srikandi in the G1 Tatt’s Tiara (1400m) on the Gold Coast. Bolted in first up last time in, defeating Pago Rock by three lengths over 1100m and two starts later was favourite for the Stradbroke Handicap where, from a wider gate, she ran a respectable tenth (4.1 lengths). Sure to be ready here and will be charging at them late out wide.
4. RAIN AFFAIR – (3) 54kgs
The old boy’s last win was in August 2013 and prior to that March 2012. He stepped out for the first time in eighteen weeks and for new trainer Daniel Bowman, when contesting the G1 Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley a fortnight ago. Uncharacteristically, he settled back in the run and was holding his position in the run to the line when cut out by Flamberge who come in on top of him. Wouldn’t imagine he settles back here from an inside gate and for the first time in a long time, gets down to a light weight. Could run an improved race but still find it hard to see him holding off all challengers late.
5. HEADWATER – T Berry (1) 54kgs
Drew wide and went forward in each of his two runs back, the G3 San Domenico Stakes and a month later, the G2 Danehill Stakes, but stopped quickly on each occasion and finished seventh and ninth respectively. On that form he wasn’t given much of a chance when stepping up to the G1 Moir Stakes but a drop in weight and a barrier draw that saw him secure a nice run behind the speed, produced an improved effort and a fourth placing (1.5 lengths) behind Buffering. Stays on the same weight here, gets similar draw, should be able to produce similar result.
6. KINGLIKE – G Boss (5) 54kgs
The Peter Moody colt returned to racing with a most impressive 1.3 length win over Raphael’s Cat and Ready For Victory (3rd in last week’s Caulfield Guineas) in the G2 Danehill Stakes six weeks ago. Hard not to be taken with that effort and the fact that Moody is taking on the older more seasoned sprinters here is surely a sign that the 3yo by Exceed And Excel and come on strongly since.
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7. ÉCLAIR CHOICE – D Tournuer (2) 54kgs
He finished fifth behind track-specialist Le Bonsir in Moonee Valley’s Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m) first up from a spell before going back home to run third behind The Messina Nymph in the Listed Wylie Stakes (1100m). Ok last couple without being great and will find this race no easier than either of those events but Trainer is never far from the money when he comes across from Adelaide this time of year and he has drawn to get the sweet run behind what will be a good tempo.
8. LAST DAY – (6) 54kgs
Recorded his fourth career win at Gawler three weeks ago, producing a big finish coming from the tail of the field to win the 3yo Handicap by a head from the consistent Brimarvi Prince. Hard to see him winning a race like this off of that effort though, especially when he’ll see most of the field as they turn for home.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Ball Of Muscle will get a lovely cart of stable-mate Rain Affair here who is drawn his immediate inside and will make sure that the run it along. It’s taken some good ones to better Bull Of Muscle recently but think he’ll get his moment in the sun here. Kinglike will stalk the speed and has the makings of a very good horse. Like the fact that Moody is taking on the good sprinters here – think that’s a positive sign. Kuro ran a long neck third to Ball Of Muscle last time they met and meets him a further 2kg better here and should be right in the mix.
1. BALL OF MUSCLE