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It was a heart in mouth moment for trainer Chris Lees as he saw his runner Mugatoo involved in a hectic few minutes prior to a trial at Newcastle where his runner narrowly avoided serious injury on Monday

Mugatoo involved in barrier trial incident

Mugatoo is already a horse that's on a long road to recovery after serious injury ruled him out for the past 12 months. 

The Kris Lees trained All Star Mile winner was due to go round in the opening trial of the day at Newcastle Racecourse before disaster struck and provided a heart stopping moment for connections.

As Mugatoo was about to be loaded into the stalls, the son of Henrythenavigator threw jockey Dylan Gibbons before proceeding to bolt round the Newcastle track. It was only when handlers caught hold of Mugatoo he was restrained and taken back to the stalls.

“When we went to load, he backed out and Dylan came off him,” Lees said.

“He got loose and went back to the stalls, going pretty quick I can tell you that.

“It was heart in mouth there for a bit but he’s came out of it fine and has only just taken a bit of skin off him.

“It’s an interruption we didn’t need, especially with a horse like him.”

Mugatoo had previously trialled well at Muswellbrook earlier in April and was quickly approaching a comeback date having not run since the Doomben Cup in May of last year.

Depending on the result of a second trial Lees was set to determine whether Mugatoo was best placed for a stint in the winter carnival or holding ground and heading towards spring instead. 

It’s now likely the seven-year-old will head to next Monday’s Randwick trials before Lees makes a call on where Mugatoo will make his return to racing.

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