New Zealand trainer Stephen McKee is bringing King Mufhasa back to Australia to contest the Group 1 Toorak Handicapat Caulfield this Saturday after two gutsy performances in his home country this spring.
“He’s just had a couple of runs this year and he’s performed up to his best so we thought he deserved another chance in Australia,” McKee said.
The seven-year-old gelding is yet to win a race in Australia, despite travelling here on four separate occasions.
King Mufhasa won his first-up start of the spring by almost two lengths in the Group 1 Challenge Stakes, before being beaten by Jimmy Choux when finishing second in the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate last start.
“We were left at the front (in the Windsor Park Plate) and although King Mufhasa is a good front runner he’s much better taking a sit and having a target to chase at,” McKee said.
“He’s comfortable anywhere in the first three or four.”
King Mufhasa finished ninth in his only past attempt at the Toorak Handicap in 2009.
“He’s going better (than two years ago) but Damien Oliver rode him that day and he drew the outside (barrier),” McKee said.
“He said it was a tremendous run to finish where he did given the luck from the draw.”
The trainer may choose to keep King Mufhasa in Australia after Saturday’s Toorak Handicap to compete in more spring carnival features.
“There’s a couple of other options obviously the Emirates (Stakes on November 5) and those sort of races just depending on what he shows us Saturday,” he said.
The Pentire gelding has won 15 of his 44 race starts and has earned more than $NZ 2.3 million in prize money.