Reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year King Mufhasa, now prepared by Bruce Wallace, is set to resume racing for the year in Melbourne’s CF Orr Stakes 2013 at Caulfield Racecourse on Saturday where they will face a tough field of gallopers headlined by Caulfield Guineas winner All Too Hard.
The eight-year-old Pentire gelding, previously trained by Stephen Mckee, is one of Australasia’s most consistent middle-distance runners having amassed an incredible 10 Group 1 victories both in their native New Zealand and in Australia.
Their maiden elite level trophy came in the 2009 Telegraph Handicap and they have continued to race at the highest level both at home and down under over the subsequent four seasons.
Their most recent Group 1 success was last year’s Windsor Park Plate over the mile at Hastings in September after which the travelled to Melbourne where they ran fifth to Solzhenitsyn in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield.
They return to the track, home of their Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) victory last Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival, this weekend for the weight-for-age $400,000 Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) which they run in for the first time.
It will be King Mufhasa’s first run since their two and half length victory in the Group 3 Manawatu Challenge (1400m) on December 22 and Wallace is confident they are ready for a good first-up performance.
“He came to us in great order,” Wallace said.
“He had three weeks off after his last run and we have kept the work up to him.
“We haven’t tried to do anything flash with him.
“We haven’t got any history with him and on his trackwork you wouldn’t really know.
“He doesn’t do anything spectacular in his work but I’ve gone back through the videos of his races and it’s amazing how on raceday he is a racehorse.”
Wallace also nominated his recent stable acquisition for the Waikato Sprint at home but has made the decision to fly them into Melbourne on Wednesday night to tackle the CF Orr which kicks off Group 1 racing this Melbourne Festival of Racing where any questions their new trainer might have about where they are at will be answered.
“He is eight years old now and we’re not going to be able to improve him. It’s a matter of keeping him at the level he’s at,” Wallace said.
“It’s no small task to take on a horse with his record.
“I’d love him to win obviously but I’m not sure what to expect.”
A talented line-up of 11 hopefuls were nominated for the 2013 CF Orr Stakes including the Hawkes-trained champion All Too Hard, Doomben Cup winner Mawingo and Mick Price’s undefeated galloper Callanish.
Following the CF Orr Stakes Wallace said King Mufhasa, who races simply as Mufhasa in New Zealand, will stay on in Melbourne to defend their title in the $500,000 Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) back at the track on Blue Diamond Stakes Day, Saturday February 23.
“He will stay in Melbourne for the Futurity which he won last year and then possibly go to Sydney again.”
King Mufhasa’s other Group 1 win in Australia was in the 2011 Toorak Handicap and Michael Rodd, aboard for that victory, is back in the saddle on Saturday.
The 2013 Sportingbet CF Orr Stakes final field and barrier draw is due for release on Wednesday with acceptances and gates to be published right here at Races.com.au.
In the meantime get ready to back a winner at the best prices by opening your bookmaker.com.au account.
Remember too to enter the promotional code BONUSBET when you do to have your first deposit matched dollar for dollar as a bonus bet valued up to $400 which you can split into 4 x individual $100 bonus bets to use on markets of your choice this season!