Ball bounces back in Schillaci

Evergreen sprinter Ball Of Muscle continued the most fruitful campaign of his career with a brilliant win in Saturday's Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield.

The Joe Pride-trained speedster did plenty of work from his outside barrier and was posted wide around the bend but skipped two lengths clear at the furlong pole, holding a comfortable margin on the fast-finishing Spirit Of Valor in the run to the line.

The Schillaci scalp was a quick return to form for the eight-year-old who failed behind Viddora in the G1 Moir Stakes (1000m) last start after wins in the Listed The Heath (1100m) and the G2 The Shorts (1100m) earlier in his preparation.

Pride said Ball of Muscle, the half-brother of G1-winning stablemates Terravista and Tiger Tees, would again be given the chance to chase a G1 win of his own in next month's Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) in Perth.

"He's just a traveller, I think this might be his 12th interstate trip," Pride said.

"He certainly put in a run as good as any in his career, characteristically it's not the way we've seen him win his races and I was a little bit nervous at the 600m when he (Craig Williams) seemed to push him along but it was a big win for him today.

"I'm really toying with the idea of taking him to Perth for the Winterbottom Stakes, I think it would be a really nice race for him, 1200m around that track (Ascot).

"I couldn't do it (Manikato Stakes) with confidence and the horse deserves better than that."

Aidan O'Brien's travelling foreman T.J. Comerford was delighted with the performance of Spirit Of Valor and suggested he would be suited by the step to 1200m next start.

The five-year-old holds entries for both the Manikato Stakes and the VRC Sprint Classic.

Ball Of Muscle and Craig Williams, picture