A FIRST-UP win in his heat has Muscle Bart in a prime position to grab a ‘consolation’ in Ballarat on Saturday night.
Showing plenty of promise during his previous campaign, Muscle Bart registered two wins and three placings from six starts, with his unplaced performance coming in the Group One Australian Pacing Gold Bullion Final in May.
Reported to have “thrived” during his break, Muscle Bart is set to contest the Australian Pacing Gold Sovereign Final for trainer Emma Stewart.
The son of Shadow Play led throughout his qualifier to score by 10-and-a-half metres in 1:57.8 over 1720 metres.
“It was a nice handy run in his heat,” Stewart said. “The kind of run you want them to have fresh from a spell.
“He ran along nicely enough without being pushed too hard and has improved since then.
“His work this week has been pretty sharp and he’ll take a lot of beating even from barrier seven.”
An eye-catch heat winner upon debut, Catch A Wave is the main danger according to Stewart.
Prepared by premier horseman Andy Gath, Catch A Wave rated 1:55.5.
The gelding will come from barrier four.
“Catch A Wave was pretty impressive,” Stewart said. “He’s also drawn to go forward, which makes him the one to beat.”