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Mufhasa (NZ) Seals Sixth Group One

Mufhasa (NZ) Seals Sixth Group One

Friday night's newly crowned 2010/11 Champion New Zealand Sprinter Mufhasa showed that he was the deserved winner of the award by opening the new season with a brilliant performance in the Group 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hastings the very next day.

In one of the strongest Makfi Challenge Stakes (formally Mudgway Stakes) seen in recent years, Mufhasa (NZ) (Pentire x Sheila Cheval) was too sharp for the field in the straight, racing away to record a one-and-three-quarter length victory with jockey Sam Spratt in the saddle.

Trained by Stephen McKee, Mufhasa's Makfi Challenge Stakes win was the fifteenth victory of his remarkable career. Crowned New Zealand's Horse of the Year in 2008/09, the seven-year-old won the Group 1 Telegraph Handicap/Group 1 Waikato Draught Sprint double for the second time last season; his victories seeing him take home the NZ Champion Sprinter Title for 2010/11.

Trainer Stephen McKee, who is no stranger to Group 1 success, was delighted with the performance.

"The track continued to improve throughout the day which was to his advantage and we had him in good shape coming into the race so I was confident he would run well, it was a good win.

"His next start is the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate in three weeks so he will have a bit of time between runs. We haven't really planned beyond that race as we are keen to see how he performs before making any decisions.

"We have entered him in the last leg of the Triple Crown, the New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance Spring Classic. He ran over 2000 metres once as a three-year-old and we have wanted to try him again over the distance so that could be an option for him. He is a seven-year-old now so there is no reason to be holding back.

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"There are also a few races across the Tasman so we will see how he goes in three weeks' time."

With some stars of the Australasian turf winning the opening race of the Hawke's Bay Triple Crown in previous years, Mufhasa's name joins the honour roll which includes the likes of Seachange (NZ), Xcellent (NZ), Starcraft (NZ), Sunline (NZ) and Rough Habit (NZ).

Bred by Colin and John Thompson, Mufhasa has proven a lucrative purchase for his owners David, Natalie and Simon Archer and Diane Wright. Bought by David Archer from Rich Hill Stud at the 2006 Karaka Select Sale for $50,000, Mufhasa has now won over $2.2 million.

Connections of the 2010/11 NZ Horse of the Year Jimmy Choux (NZ) (Thorn Park) would have been far from disappointed as the four-year-old came from well back in the field to take second place. His owner Richard Wood has his sights set on the Group 1 Cox Plate, and indicated that the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile was also on the radar.

Another Australian bound New Zealand performer Scarlett Lady (NZ) (Savabeel) also showed that she is in for a big spring with an eye catching run coming from the tail of the field. Winning the Group 1 Queensland Oaks last season, her ultimate aim for the spring is the Melbourne Cup.


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