Irish Queenslander Noel Greenhalgh has won his share of group 1s in his lime silks with the dark green shamrock, but Mister Sea Wolf’s victory in the inaugural $1 million The Gong was something special.
It had a lot to do with where the horse had come from.
“We had been looking for an Irish horse for a long time and this bloke was the first one we bought,” Greenhalgh said. “Guy [Mulcaster] found him, and to get over here was great and he has been a gem of a horse for us.
“He tries so hard every time, and for him to win that race is probably as good as a group 1 for me.”
Greenhalgh had one regret about Mister Sea Wolf, which surprisingly got out to $21 by jump time.
“I took a lot of $8 on Thursday and wasn’t smart enough to take the 20s today,” he said. “It doesn’t matter, this is just great.”
The Chris Waller-trained eight-year-old made it 11 wins as as he got the better of Quackerjack ($6.50), which was brave after sitting three-wide outside the lead, to win by head with stablemate Star Of The Seas ($7) a neck back in third. They broke the 10-year-old track record for the Kembla 1600m.
The win gave James McDonald the double in Racing NSW’s new $1 million races after his win on Savatiano in The Hunter last week.
“It’s great to win the first running of The Gong. The atmosphere is incredible,” McDonald said.
“Like I said last week after winning The Hunter, the spring just keeps rolling on. It is fantastic
“He’s my old favourite. We’ve had a good association
“I thought he was going to be up against it with 59kg and a firm track.” – Chris Roots, The Age.