Chris Waller stable favourite to defy the odds in $1 million The Gong

Mister Sea Wolf is going to have to defy the odds again if he is to go back-to-back in the $1 million The Gong (1600m) at Kembla Grange on Saturday.

A combination of an outstanding entry for the second running of the Illawarra Turf Club’s richest race and Mister Sea Wolf’s 60kg topweight has the Chris Waller-trained veteran rated only a $15 chance in early TAB Fixed Odds betting.

But this is a very similar scenario to last year when Mister Sea Wolf also had topweight of 59kg for The Gong and started at generous odds of $21 before scoring a narrow win.

Waller’s stable representative Charlie Duckworth said Mister Sea Wolf, winner of the Chelmsford Stakes earlier this spring, is going as well now as he was before winning The Gong last year.

Champion trainer Chris Waller has four horses nominated for The Gong on Saturday. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“Mister Sea Wolf’s a nine-year-old gelding and he is obviously a stable favourite, he‘s been with us so long,“ Duckworth said.

“It‘s just great to see him be able to come back and compete in these types of races.

“He‘s not quite a Group 1 weight-for-age horse but he’s incredibly consistent in anything from 1400m right up to 1800m. He puts his heart and soul into it and the owners reap the rewards as a result.’’

Mister Sea Wolf, who began his racing career in England more than six years ago, can take his career earnings over the $2 million mark if he can defend his The Gong title. In other big-race news:

#There are 20 stakes winners among the 24 entries for The Gong including three individual Group 1 winners – Olmedo (French 2000 Guineas), Nettoyer (Doncaster Mile) and Best Of Days (Cantala Stakes)

#Trainer Chris Waller has four nominated – Mister Sea Wolf, Olmedo, Savacool and Reloaded

#Godolphin trainer James Cummings also has four nominations with Cascadian, Best Of Days, Ranier and Asiago

Purple Sector opened equal favourite Saturday’s $1 million The Gong. Picture by Grant GuySource:The Daily Telegraph

#Purple Sector and Rock are joint $6 favourite in opening TAB Fixed Odds betting.

French import Olmedo resumed with a close sixth in the Group 1 Cantala Stakes behind stablemate Yulong Prince with The Gong rivals Cascadian and Rock in the minor placings.

Olmedo is at $15 alongside Mister Sea Wolf in The Gong betting and is on trial for a trip to Hong Kong for the International meeting in December.

“He ran sixth in the Cantala so that’s serious form and he won the French (2000) Guineas as a three-year-old so the class is there,’’ Duckworth said.

“He will strip much fitter for that run at Flemington on Derby day. He galloped well at Flemington (last Saturday) morning and he will travel up here on Wednesday and then head to Hong Kong for the International meeting. He is in the (International) Mile and the 2000m (International Cup).”

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Originally published asMister Sea Wolf on target for The Gong defence

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