After an unplaced run first-up in the CF Orr Stakes last weekend connections of reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year King Mufhasa will continue on in Melbourne with the 10-time Group 1 champ to defend their title in the 2013 Futurity Stakes at the end of the month.
Veteran Pentire eight-year-old King Mufhasa ran 56 times for trainer Stephen McKee including 10 elite level victories, two of which were achieved in Australia, before stepping out for new trainer Bruce Wallace for the first time on February 9.
They went for a third Aussie Group 1 when resuming at Caulfield then but only managed to finish fifth, albeit only beaten 1.3 lengths, behind Black Caviar’s champion half-brother All Too Hard in the CF Orr Stakes (1400m).
Takanini-based Wallace and owner David Archer are now hoping for improvement when King Mufhasa races again during the Melbourne Festival of Racing Saturday week saying there were a number of excuses for their luckless CF Orr finish.
“(Jockey) Michael (Rodd) said had those two things not happened, he would have run second or first,” Archer told the NZ Herald speaking of a race delay when Wall Street played up at the start and the pressure racing up front off a seven week break.
Last year the gelding, who races back home simply as Mufhasa, won the $500,000 Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) second-up on Blue Diamond Stakes Day and they will again target the Caulfield classic on February 23 this year with Michael Rodd to retain the ride.
“Michael’s very keen to ride him in the Futurity Stakes and has offered to come and ride him in trackwork before the race,” Archer said, Rodd having been aboard King Mufhasa for their first Group 1 in Australia in the 2011 Toorak Handicap.
“He came through Saturday’s race really well. It was a tough race but he’s come through with no issues and he’s eating up well.”
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