Mufhasa (who races in Australia as King Mufhasa) will not run in this weekend’s Telegraph Handicap robbing New Zealand of what would have been a fantastic matchup against Aussie gelding Atomic Force.
The dual Group 1 winner is in tremendous form coming off his Railway Stakes victory and a showdown with New Zealand’s greatest sprinter would have been a sight to behold.
It won’t eventuate though with trainer Steve Mckee saying the combination of 61kg and barrier 16 were simply too much to overcome.
“I think if he drew in the first half a dozen we probably would have taken it on,” he said.
“It’s not a be all end all race, I think drawing out wide with that weight we’re happy to give it a miss.”
It would have been a tempting proposition despite the conditions though, especially at the Trentham circuit.
“His record at Trentham is very good, it’s a track that does suit him,” he said.
“At the end of the day he’s been in top form all year, I think he’s better placed at weight for age racing where he’s got the wood on them.”
Mufhasa actually won last year’s Telegraph Handicap but with the 12 months he’s had since handicap’s are now out of the equation.
“He sprinted good last year but he only had 56.5kg, we’ll stick to weight for age from now on,” he said.
There was a thought that Mufhasa could come across and tackle the Australia Stakes instead, a path that’d put him on a collision course with Black Caviar.
Unfortunately that has been made a remote possibility at best because of a bizarre set of circumstances.
“The problem is it’s Chinese New Year next week and the planes coming from Singapore and Hong Kong to take the horses aren’t coming,” he said.
“The only other option would be to squeeze him in on Sunday night but we’d be leaving before knowing the field.”
If McKee were to come it’d be close to a two horse race with not a single other nomination in at this stage and he can understand why.
“When you get a horse so dominate nobody takes her on, we saw a few take her on in Melbourne where the races were worth $1,000,000,” he said.
It’s not that he thinks the race wouldn’t suit Mufhasa either.
“To be honest I always thought 1200m around Moonee Valley would be perfect for Mufhasa, at least he’d give her some sort of competition,” he said.
If it doesn’t eventuate as seems likely though he will race on February 11 in either the Waikato Stakes or the Orr Stakes in Melbourne.