King Mufhasa aiming for ninth Group 1 in Futurity

By: Mark Mazzaglia
February 24th, 2012

New Zealand galloper King Mufhasa’s chances of winning his ninth Group 1 at Caulfield on Saturday escalated when it was announced that super mare Black Caviar was being sent to the spelling paddock.

Trainer Peter Moody made the Group 1 $500,000 Futurity Stakes (1400m) more achievable for  everybody when he decided to give Black Caviar a break before she heads off overseas and even though trainer Stephen McKee was happy to take on the champion with King Mufhasa, he is also glad she is not lining tomorrow.

“I think it would been quite exciting to have a runner against Black Caviar but at the end of the day it gives everybody a better chance of winning the race,” McKee said.

“He wasn’t as quick away as norman last time but he was three wide the trip and they ran quick time so it was a good brave run to hold on for second.”

“The 1400m is one of his better trips. He ran fourth in the Futurity last year and was probably a bit unlucky, two of them raced each other in front and made it for More Joyous to come over the top.”

King Mufhasa, to be ridden by Nash Rawiller is a winner of eight Group 1 races in Australia and New Zealand and wasn’t disgraced when a first up second to Veyron in the Group 1 $150,000 Waikato Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa on February 11.

McKee is set to keep to a proven plan with his seven year old and return home to New Zealand after the Futurity as he did in the Spring when King Mufhasa’s only Australian run was when he took out the Group 1 $350,000 The David Jones Rose Clinic Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield.

With Black Caviar on the sidelines McKee has not surprisingly nominated Cox Plate winner Pinker Pinker to be ridden by Craig Williams, as the hardest to beat.

Pinker Pinker hasn’t raced since her win over Jimmy Choux in the Group 1 $3m Tatts Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley last Spring and trainer Greg Eurell is also happy he won’t have to take on Black Caviar first up.

“She’s in good shape and has come back as good as she was, I don’t think there is any doubt about that,” Eurell said.

“Everything has gone to plan and hopefully we can give her a soft run so she doesn’t have a gut buster first up.”

Eurell gave the Reset mare a solid barrier trial at Cranbourne on February 7 and has her as fit as he would like to give her every chance of being the third mare in a row to win the Futurity following the wins of Typhoon Tracy in 2010 and More Joyous last year.

“Craig was quite happy with the way she felt. What we lack is probably the race fit edge that the others would have on us.”

“She always run a nice race fresh and we’d expect her to do that again.”

Eurell is looking to give Pinker Pinker a fairly light Autumn campaign but a trip to Sydney for the Group 1 $350,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on March 10 could be on the agenda.

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