True Blue Paul Gallen has admitted it’s an “awesome” feeling to own a horse that is already being touted as the next superstar of racing.
The former NSW Blues skipper was celebrating after the horse he owns a small share in, Te Akau Shark, romped to victory in the Group 2 Riccaton’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) at Riccarton in New Zealand on Wednesday (November 14).
Gallen, who was brought into ownership of the horse by a Cronulla Sharks sponsor, was on course to watch as jockey Opie Bosson steered Te Akau Shark to the outside of the field before storming past the pack to win running away by six lengths.
“It was awesome watching it,” Gallen told NSWRL.com.au.
“They took me out two days ago to meet the horse when we got here and it was so impressive.
“It was just an absolute beast, so fit-looking and it’s so big.
“I was looking at him next to other racehorses yesterday and he’s heaps bigger than all the other ones and got muscles everywhere.
“From all reports it’s a pretty special horse. The jockey said he was a superstar when he finished yesterday. He said he didn’t even hit it, he just let it go.”
Te Akau Shark, who has now won five races from six starts and was a short-priced favourite for his win at Riccarton, will now head to the spelling paddock before being prepared for the Sydney autumn, with the Group I Doncaster (1600m) at Randwick on April 6 a possible target.
The Sharks are scheduled to face Parramatta the same day at ANZ Stadium and Gallen said he would have no issue cheering from afar if he has to. He added he has been inundated with messages from fans on social media informing him just how good his horse is.
“I know where my bread’s buttered and I’ll be there for the Sharks,” Gallen said.
“I don’t know anything about these races, but all these people are talking to me about it. My Twitter has been absolutely mad with people saying how good he is, and people are saying running times – not under what Winx is doing – but apparently under 33 seconds for the last 600 metres is pretty quick and it’s done that.
“I don’t know really what to think about it at the moment. I just enjoy a day at the races and I’ve always have enjoyed a day at the races.
“To own a horse now and to be able to walk him out and walk him back in and to be able to cheer him on in the stand is something different. It’s something I’ve never been involved in before so it’s pretty cool.”