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.”
While McDonald celebrated, Rachel King on Quackerjack was left wondering what would have happened if he had drawn a gate. From the outside barrier he was posted three-wide throughout.
“He got into that really good rhythm of his and gee he is tough. When [Mister Sea Wolf] got up to him he was deadset going to run straight past us but [Quackerjack] just wouldn’t let him,” King said. “He has the biggest heart.
“He deserved to win more than anything. It was just the barrier that beat him. If draws even half decent he is one off and wins.”
Quackerjack will back up into the Villiers Stakes, and trainer Mark Newnham keen to get his miler into the Doncaster.
“We had the toughest run in the race and we have been beaten a head,” Newnham said.
“I said to someone at the 600m we’re done, but what a tough miler he is. He was three-deep with no cover all the way and was still there at the end.
“He is going to win a nice race and we will go to the Villiers and hope he can draw a barrier.”
Glen Boss broken the whip rules on third placegetter Star Of The Seas, hitting her 10 times before the 100m mark and 13 times in consecutive strides.
He apologised to stewards and pleaded guilty and was suspended for two weeks and fined $4000 for his efforts.
“Every time I hit it, it was responding. I got carried away because thought I was going to win the race,” Boss said.
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald