The application of blinkers and a perfectly judged Jason Collett ride witnessed Mister Sea Wolf (by Amadeus Wolf) register his maiden victory in Australia when landing the $150,000, Listed, Winter Challenge (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens in Sydney.
A 6-year-old Irish-import trained by Chris Waller, Mister Sea Wolf was the medium of strong support for the black-type event and put his best foot forward at his second outing back from a four-week freshen-up.
Ridden just off the pace with a handful of rivals showing him the way, Mister Sea Wolf mounted a serious challenge with 300 metres to race before doing best in a thrilling climax to the feature event of Sydney’s Saturday metropolitan program.
Mister Sea Wolf just managed to get the better of Flow (by Street Cry) over the closing stages to win in a photo-finish.
The first and second horses finished comfortably clear of the remainder of the field, with Special Missile (by Smart Missile) coming home in third.
Commenting after the victory, winning trainer Chris Waller seemed more than satisfied with his decision to add headgear to the import’s tackle.
“It was good; much better… the blinkers going on might just had some help there,” remarked Waller.
“Just [being] that bit closer. Good speed. Good draw. So well done to Jason [Collett], it was a good ride.
“I thought this was the right time [to apply blinkers]. He’s been a touch disappointing in a couple of his runs.”
Waller went on to explain that Mister Sea Wolf had been sent over from Ireland by some owners that were still in the horse and admitted that he genuinely thought the gelding might have developed into a lightweight Doncaster Handicap chance during his previous preparation.
Mister Sea Wolf actually lined-up in this year’s Doncaster field, but finished last of 16 runners.
Waller subsequently indicated that the best is still to come from Mister Sea Wolf, suggesting that a new preparation and the application of blinkers had definitely helped to switch him on, before adding that 1800 metres might even suit him better still.
Mister Sea Wolf is raced by Mr D Spratt, Mr N A Greenhalgh, Mrs M T Greenhalgh and Magic Bloodstock Racing. His record now reads 32 starts for seven wins, four seconds and four thirds for $379,387 in prizemoney.
The winner was backed in from $16.00 to $8.00 in the betting ring, before being returned at the starting price of $9.50. Runner-up Flow went to post at $9.00, and Special Missile at $8.00.
The official margins on the event were a half-neck by two-and-a-quarter lengths.
Winning time was 1m29.59s (last 600m in 34.82s). – Peter Falconer, ThorougbredNews