Veteran gelding King Mufhasa is expected to make his return to racing in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on September 21 as the wet weather in New Zealand continues to thwart his comeback in his home country.
King Mufhasa was set to return to the races in the Group 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hastings in New Zealand on August 31 but was withdrawn from the race due to the heavy state of the track and could not make the trip to Australia for the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) because he had not completed the required blood checks to re-enter the county after competing in Hong Kong in April.
The Pentire gelding was found to be lame and suffered a bleeding attack after he finished at the tail of the field in the Group 1 The Champions Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin and trainer Bruce Wallace was expected to retire the ten-time Group 1 winner but his form in trackwork has convince the Takanini-based trainer to give him one more campaign.
“It looks as if we will have to bring him to Australia; the tracks in New Zealand are too wet,” Wallace told AAP.
“We are looking at either the George Main in Sydney or the Rupert Clarke Stakes in Melbourne.
“There is a race at home on the same day but the George Main looks likely.”
King Mufhasa has never previously contested either race but his best form in Australia has been in Melbourne.
The popular veteran won the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield during the 2011 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and returned to Melbourne the following autumn to win the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m).
Earlier this year he raced in both Melbourne and Sydney, finishing fifth in the Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) and third in the Futurity Stakes in Melbourne before recording a poor performance on a wet track in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) and finishing within half a length of Pierro in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
If King Mufhasa is successful in the George Main Stakes he will be the first nine-year-old to win the time-honored race.