Reigning horse of the year Mufhasa has had a shock change of stables.
A winner of 10 Gr I races under the guidance of Auckland trainer Stephen McKee, Mufhasa was this week transferred to fellow Auckland trainer Bruce Wallace at the request of part-owner David Archer.
In a statement issued today at McKee's request because of immense media interest in the move, Archer said he and his fellow owners still held McKee in the "highest regard both as a person and as a master trainer" but the decision was made in order to have Mufhasa in the care of his strapper Amy Doran, who parted ways with the McKee stable earlier this month.
“Our decision to change training stables centred around our belief that the continued care of Mufhasa by his lifelong caregiver and companion, strapper Amy Doran, was vital to Mufhasa’s wellbeing, particularly at this late stage in his career, after seven uninterrupted years of the pair being together, something Stephen was not prepared to allow to continue," Archer said.
“We know that most will disagree with our decision, and we are extremely sad to lose our connection with one of New Zealand racing’s finest in Stephen McKee, but in the twilight of his career, we have chosen to place Mufhasa’s wellbeing above all else."
Wallace has also accepted fellow Archer-owned gallopers Eight Schillings and Rafhiki into his stable.
"David's a client of ours. We've always trained horses for him and he approached us about this last week," Wallace said today.
"He said there was a situation at McKees that he would possibly lead to his horses being moved. The horses have arrived in incredibly good order, tremendous order. They are a real credit to Stephen."
Wallace said Mufhasa was likely to follow a campaign that McKee mapped out, with a likely starting point in the Gr I $200,000 Waikato Draught Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa on February 9 or the Gr I A$400,000 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield the same day before a tilt at the Gr I A$500,000 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 23.
- Waikato Times