Ten time Group 1 winner King Mufhasa’s Spring plans are up in the air after trainer Bruce Wallace scratched the nine year old from Saturday’s Group 1 NZ$200,000 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hawke’s Bay in Hastings, New Zealand, because of the heavy track.
Wallace didn’t want to risk King Mufhasa on the heavy track at his first back from an unsuccessful trip to Hong Kong when he bled when last of nine in the Group 1 HK$12m Champions Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on May 5.
“The track is going to be heavy and it’s not worth running him in that ground first-up,” Wallace told The Informant.
“At his age and at this stage of his campaign, it’s better to wait for a better track and David is happy to delay a run.”
Wallace will have to sit down with owner David Archer to devise a new Spring plan for King Mufhasa who is certain to make another trip to Australia at some stage during the Carnival.
The Takanini trainer had also accepted with his multiple Group 1 winner in the Group 1 $350,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday but had to withdraw from that as well when it was discovered that he hadn’t completed the necessary blood checks to re-enter Australia.
“Because he last raced in Hong Kong, Australia sees him as an imported horse coming back from Hong Kong through New Zealand,” said Wallace.
“He’s had the blood test taken now and he should be all cleared by next Wednesday. It’s usually a four-day test.”
Wallace is still keen to make the trip across the Tasman, but is now struggling to find a suitable weight-for-age race to kick off his campaign.
“It’s tricky because all the weight-for-age races after this are over 1600 metres,” said Wallace.
“I’ve got to sit down and sort it out. It may be that he has to have a couple of trials. It’ll be up to David to work out what he wants to do.”
King Mufhasa has been a regular visitor to the Australian carnivals since 2009 when trained by Stephen McKee and more recently by Wallace and has picked up two Group 1 trophies on Australian soil.
The Kiwi warhorse took out the 2011 Group 1 $350,000 David Jones Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield in the Spring then returned to Caulfield the following Autumn to win the 2012 Group 1 $500,000 Cathay Pacific Futurity Stakes (1400m).
At his most recent visit, King Mufhasa ran Pierro to half a length when second in the Group 1 $400,000 The Daily Telegraph George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill in April this year.