Stephen McKee’s evergreen veteran Kiwi King Mufhasa is on track for another raid on the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival this season where the now eight-year-old will vie for back-to-back wins in the Toorak Handicap 2012.
The Pentire gelding took their impressive career record to 19 wins from 52 starts over the weekend when winning the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) at Hastings, reigning NZ Horse of the Year King Mufhasa racing second-up for the season.
Their resuming run was a cracker when beaten under two lengths to finish fourth to Ocean Park in the Group 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m), an effort that’s form was further proven on Saturday in Melbourne as Ocean Park defeated a crack field of weight-for-age stars in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield.
Saturday’s Windsor Park Plate success was King Mufhasa’s 10th Group 1 triumph, and the eighth where they were ridden by regular hoop Samantha Spratt who was over the moon with the victory.
“He’s got a very, very special place in my heart,” Spratt said after the win.
“I’m not sure where this one belongs, it’s just wonderful to be able to ride a horse like him.
“He kicked away really well. That what he can do – skip along and then kick if they come alongside.
“He just loves to run. He just rolled along in front and I knew when we turned for home we were going to take heading.”
Not all of their 10 elite level wins have been in New Zealand only either with the champion taking out two Group 1 victories in Australia.
The most recent of those was during the autumn when they defeated Cox Plate winner Pinker Pinker by over a length in the Futurity Stakes at Caulfield, while the first came during last year’s spring when they backed up from a Challenge Stakes victory and Windsor Park Plate second to win the $350,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m).
This year the 2012 Toorak Handicap is worth $400,000 in prize money and is due to take place on Caulfield Guineas Day, Saturday October 13, and it is again on the agenda for King Mufhasa.
“All the new challengers come through every year and he keeps holding his form,” McKee said.
“I was a bit worried about the lack of speed as he’s better when he can sit and kick, but he jumped like a rocket and that was it.
“When he won his third Group One I thought he’d done pretty well and he was in a good bracket of horses, but he’s just kept going on.
“When he got another four last season I thought it would be great to get the extra one for 10.”
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