Jacqueline Henderson continues to be surprised at the resilience of Me Hungi who ran a slashing second to stable mate, This Cat Rocks, in the Peter Evans Memorial Handicap (1700m) at Carnarvon on Friday.
Henderson is delighted the former Victorian galloper is back racing competively, let alone being hailed as one of the major chances to take out next fortnight’s XXXX-Gold Carnarvon Cup (2000m).
Henderson’s first attempt at Carnarvon’s biggest race of the year seemed a forlorn hope a few months back but the son of Lago Delight has made an outstanding recovery.
Henderson believed Me Hungi’s racing days were numbered after the seven-year-old sustained a serious leg injury on a float trip from Camperdown trainer, Geoff Daffy.
“He got to Adelaide and kicked out in the float causing significant cuts to his leg, “said Henderson.
“The vets called me up and said it was serious enough that he wouldn’t be racing again.
“That’s why I think what he has done this campaign has been amazing.
“He has missed so much work and has been behind the mark but has done really well.
“He keeps stepping up and has answered every challenge thrown his way.”
Me Hungi and This Cat Rocks give Henderson, better recognised as a trainer of sprinters, a potent two pronged attack in the Carnarvon Cup
This Cat Rocks, previously with Justin Warwick in Perth, has a proven record at the distance and is chasing a winning hat trick after his win at Broome.
Henderson says although This Cat Rocks has the upper hand with two wins over Me Hungi, she finds it difficult to separate the pair who have contrasting styles.
“They are both different horses with This Cat Rocks going forward and Me Hungi coming from behind,” said Henderson.
“Me Hungi just can’t get going early but runs on late with a big run from the tail of the field before just missing out.
“I think it’s going to be one of the strongest cup fields with some good horses in it and I’m just excited to be involved.”
Cat Five’s winning sequence of four straight races came to an abrupt halt when he faded to fourth in the Peter Evans Memorial.
The seven-year-old was beaten 4 1/4 lengths after getting a nice run throughout, raising doubts he can run out the cup distance.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli