Connections of evergreen veteran Kiwi King Mufhasa will be hoping it’s fourth time lucky for the rising eight-year-old as they prepare for to contest the George Ryder Stakes 2012, the Stephen McKee-trained nine-time Group 1 winner having run in every edition of the race since 2009.
One of 17 gallopers engaged for the $400,000 Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m), running as the eighth at Rosehill Garden’s Golden Slipper Day on Easter Saturday, Pentire gelding King Mufhasa is also one of top fancies.
George Ryder Stakes odds at bookmaker.com.au are led by Gai Waterhouse’s smart three-year-old Niagara ($5.50) who comes off a runaway win in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) at the track last Saturday.
King Mufhasa then occupies the second line of George Ryder Stakes betting at a quote of $6.50 as they seek their incredible 10th Group 1 victory, two of which have been won down under.
King Mufhasa’s Previous Group 1 Wins:
- 2012 Futurity Stakes (AUS)
- 2011 Captain Cook Stakes (NZ)
- 2011 Toorak Handicap (AUS)
- 2011 Challenge Stakes (NZ)
- 2011 Waikato Draught Sprint (NZ)
- 2011 Telegraph Handicap (NZ)
- 2010 Fairdale Classic (NZ)
- 2009 Waikato Draught Spring (NZ)
- 2009 Telegraph Handicap (NZ)
Last start the gallant New Zealander won their ninth thoroughbred major when defeating the ill-fated Cox Plate winner Pinker Pinker, who tragically died this week from an allergic reaction, by one and a quarter lengths in the Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Day, February 25.
“He’s had a few problems off and on but he’s fully mature now,” McKee said.
“He used to be very excitable around the place but he’s settled down and is much easier to manage and control.”
On Saturday they race in Sydney for the first time since Golden Slipper Day last year when they ran a disappointing 10th beaten three lengths by Rangirangdoo in the 2011 George Ryder Stakes.
That was King Mufhasa’s worst result from three straight George Ryder Stakes runs, the horse having run third to Danleigh in 2010 and third again to Vision And Power in their first attempt at the autumn classic in the April of 2009.
McKee, who believes King Mufhasa will be suited to the likely good track at Rosehill on Saturday, said an elusive win in the George Ryder Stakes would be a fairytale way for the honest champ to say goodbye to autumn racing in Sydney.
“I’d like to see him go out on a winning note in Sydney because this autumn may be the last time he races there,” McKee said.
“I’m hoping the weather holds. He ran third on the heavy the first time (in the George Ryder) but it’s not what he likes.
“He is fit and well and has shown that.
“I’m glad he finally got the chance to show Australia how good he is.
The two most recent George Ryder Stakes winners in Danleigh (2010) and Rangirangdoo (2011) are also set to contest this year’s edition, the Chris Waller-trained duo paying $14 and $7.50 respectively in the bookmaker.com.au markets.
Shooting for his third straight George Ryder Stakes win, leading Sydney horseman Waller will also be represented by Emirates Stakes winner Albert The Fat ($31) and six-year-old Metal Bender ($15)in barriers two and three rounding out his four-horse assault on the feature.
Whether you are backing the favourite Niagara, perennial starter King Mufhasa or won of Waller’s quartet the best George Ryder Stakes odds can be found online at bookmaker.com.au.
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