Jimmy Choux may keep Mufhasa closer in his sights as he seeks to turn the tables in Saturday’s Windsor Park Plate (1600m) at Hastings.
New Zealand’s leading Cox Plate contender settled midfield, further back than usual, before sprinting home for second to Mufhasa in his season-opening group one Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hastings on August 27.
But his Hastings trainer John Bary hopes the New Zealand Horse of the Year will settle closer for this Saturday’s group one clash.
“He had missed a trial before the Challenge Stakes so he was a little vulnerable and we didn’t want to be too aggressive as it might have taken too much out of him,” Bary told NZN.
“With that run behind him we can be more aggressive this time.”
The race is likely to be his last before the Cox Plate, meaning he will miss the group one Spring Classic (2040m) on October 1.
“It’s a group one on my own back door so it’s tough to miss,” he said.
“But we’re looking at the bigger picture and we want him ready for the Cox Plate and hopefully Hong Kong in December.”
Bary said Jimmy Choux’s trip to Australia in autumn, where he won the Rosehill Guineas, matured him significantly and he expects him to have no problem with crowds should he make it to Moonee Valley for the Cox Plate.
“Some horses have problems with Moonee Valley when they come through the tunnel and the crowd’s right there but he’s an intelligent horse who likes to look around,” Bary said.
“He loves a crowd and he loves to travel.”
Jimmy Choux is a $1.90 favourite on the New Zealand TAB for the Windsor Park Plate despite a barrier draw of nine. Mufhasa, who has drawn the ace, is at $4.80.