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Mufhasa's win timely for Rich Hill Stud

Mufhasa's win in the $1million Group One Telegraph Handicap could not have come at a better time for Rich Hill Stud, according to stud proprietor John Thompson.

Premier Sale Lot 225, the handsome Pentire-Sheila Cheval colt, a full brother to Mufhasa
"It's a timely boost and great publicity for Rich Hill and Pentire, right on the eve of the yearling sales, and we have a full brother to Mufhasa in the Premier Sale," said the obviously delighted Treasurer of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Association.

Mufhasa is by the Rich Hill stallion Pentire (Be My Guest – Gull Nook) out of the Mi Preferido mare Sheila Cheval (ex Silver Sheila by Silver Dream) and was bred by Thompson and his father Colin.

Mufhasa has now won the Group One Telegraph Handicap and nine other races for his owners David Archer, his partner Diane Wright, his son Simon, and his daughter Natalie. Earlier in the season the Stephen McKee trained gelding won the listed G R Kelt Memorial over 1200 metres and the Group Two CJC Coupland's Bakeries Mile.

The dam Sheila Cheval was bred by Alan Schaare, a legend in Matamata and a stalwart in racing circles in the latter part of the last century as a prolific owner. He raced dozens of good winners including the Auckland Cup winner Bright Chief, the Avondale Cup winner Regal Chief and Regal City who also won two Counties Cups.

"Dad bought Palace Lady – she also has a Pentire colt in the Premier Sale- from the dispersal sale of Alan Schaare's estate," recalls John.

"She was a winning Wild Rampage mare who was a half sister to Regal Chief.
Alan had an amazing amount of good racehorses, and had mares that produced good winners but weren't necessarily commercially bred."

She then promptly produced the Group Three Highview Stakes winner, Molly Dot Com and more recently the stakes placed winner Mary Ellen.

"Anyway, about 18 months later he ran into a chap in Matamata who had managed the Schaare Estate, who told him that as he had Palace Lady he should perhaps look at another of the Estate's mares in Sheila Cheval. She had not been put up for sale in the dispersal sale as she was not in foal and was quite bad legged.

"Sheila Cheval, is a half sister to Commander Cheval who won a Matamata Cup and ran second in the Avondale Cup, and we managed to buy her out of the paddock for a few thousand dollars. This is also the family of Grey Invader and Pace Invader and descends from Volifox.

"Her first foal was Mogano by Slavic who won one in Australia, her second foal was Belle Joie (Mellifont) and she won six races for David Archer who has sent her back to Rich Hill this season and she is in foal to Pentire and is thus carrying a three-quarter relation to Mufhasa.

"He came back and bought Mufhasa (the fourth foal) and last year he paid $130,000 for Sheila Cheval's Keeper filly. This year we have the full brother to sell."

The third foal out of the mare is Bert by Bertolini who is owned by Stephen McKee's mother Noleen and Annabelle Johnson and has won twice. She has therefore had four foals to race for four winners.

The Pentire mating has obviously produced the best result and John's theory for this mating is really quite simple.

"Physically Sheila Cheval is a nice big strong mare - the type that suit Pentire - and she needed to go to a stallion that leaves correct foals as she has bad legs herself. Pedigree-wise she has Tudor Minstrel blood through her dam sire Silver Dream (by Tudor Melody, by Tudor Minstrel) and so does Pentire through Be My Guest's dam What a Treat (Tudor Minstrel) and that was a plus as well.

"At the moment Sheila Cheval is safely in foal to Zabeel, which is exciting and naturally we are hoping for a filly to breed from. She has left two fillies, and David Archer has those so it would be nice for us to get one to keep.

"In the meantime we have the sales to look forward to and more group one glory hopefully from Mufhasa," he concluded still buzzing from the Group One $1million thrill of the Telegraph win.


- Michelle Saba