Racing’s cruel side was exposed on the international stage at Sha Tin when (King) Mufhasa (NZ) tailed the field home in the G1 Champions Mile.
It dealt a body blow to trainer Bruce Wallace and the champion’s owners who had been full of pre-race optimism. “I had never gone into a Group 1 race that confident,” Wallace said. “When we got to the races, he looked like a stallion, just fantastic, and Michael (Rodd) said he felt tremendous in his preliminary.
“It was a big blow to all of us – it’s character building and it’s not my decision whether he races on. The horse will be up here for another four weeks and I will leave it up to David (Archer) to decide on the future.”
(King) Mufhasa did suffer a bleeding attack, but Wallace disputed a post-race report that the reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year was also lame. “When he came off the track he was struggling to breathe and his tongue had gone purple,” he said. “They took him in and scoped him and his whole trachea was full of blood. No one knows why they bleed and I’m still trying to rationalise it.
“I didn’t think he was lame and neither did Michae, but one good thing is that I was pleased to get to the stable on Monday morning and see the horse had eaten everything up. He’s really bright in himself so we will just have to wait and see what happens, whatever that is he’s had a colossal career.”
(King) Mufhasa (8g Pentire – Sheila Cheval by Mi Preferido) was bred and sold by Rich Hill Stud for $50,000 at the 2006 NZ Bloodstock Select Sale. He has won 10 Group 1 events among an overall career-card of 20 wins in 61 starts and prizemoney of $2.84 million.