Emerging stayer Ballack finds best form

STAYER Ballack yesterday rediscovered his three-year-old form and may now be given another chance at a quality staying race in Brisbane after an impressive win in the City Pacific Finance Preston Handicap at Moonee Valley.

Ballack, who is trained at Flemington by Danny O'Brien, was considered an emerging staying star after his second placing in the group 1 WA Derby and a third placing in the VRC St Leger last season, but struck a flat patch last spring.

"He's not the biggest horse and after his group 1 placing we may have aimed a little high with him last time, but he had no luck in races like the Moe Cup and Werribee Cup," stable foreman Gino Mata said yesterday.

"His effort today was very good as he took off at the 600-metre mark and was entitled to stop and, while he did get tired, he stuck on well to win."

Starting $2.90 favourite, Ballack hit the front on the point of the turn and held off Crabs ($5), who defied yesterday's pattern by coming home strongly from well back in the field. Destiny Calls ($19) was third.

Mata explained that being by Montjeu, Ballack is bred to stay and may be considered for races in Brisbane next month, including the 2400-metre group 2 Brisbane Cup.

by Andrew Eddy  - The Age

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