John Thompson-trained First Seal scored an upset victory over Winx and Earthquake in the 2014 Tea Rose Stakes at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
The lead-up to the race was dominated by talk about the rematch between Winx and Earthquake following the Furious Stakes, but First Seal showed an excellent turn-of-foot to stamp herself as a genuine Group 1 contender during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Jockey Blake Shinn was able to position First Seal just behind Winx and Earthquake in the early stages of the race, while the leaders had a very easy time of in front.
Earthquake was able to kick away from Winx at the 200 metre mark, but tired in the final stages and First Seal finished the better to claim her first win at Group level in the Tea Rose Stakes.
“Barriers win races as we know and I was able to draw the plumb barrier in barrier one,” Shinn said after the race.
“She just never spent any petrol on the back of Earthquake and I had Winx well within my sights.
“Earthquake rolled off and I just sat for as long as I could and I knew that she would be there for me.
“She let down great, she is a pretty good filly and I think that she is going to run at least a mile or 2000 metres.
“I am just so happy for John Thompson, going out on his own and winning a stakes race is sensational for him.”
Thompson ended his association with Patinack Farm when Hooked won the Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1600m) at Newcastle earlier in the week and was clearly thrilled to have started a new stage of his training career with a win at Group level.
The rising trainer believes that First Seal may be the best horse that he has ever trained and believes that she will be even better when she contests races like the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m).
“She just hasn’t been showing that turn-of-foot that we know she has got at home and today she has run against two of the best fillies in the country there,” Thompson said.
“She is untapped, a very high class filly and hopefully she can go on to bigger and better things.
“Once she gets over those classic distances she will really come to the fore.
“I said to the owners yesterday that these horses were probably going to be a bit nippy over the 1400, but class takes you a long way.
“I would struggle to think of a better horse that I have had.
“We have lost a lot of horses, but we have got new clients like this.
“They are big owners, great supporters and I am wrapped to have a good horse for them.”
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2014 Tea Rose Stakes Results
|1||7||FIRST SEAL||John P Thompson||Blake Shinn||–||1||56kg||$19|
|2||4||WINX||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||0.8L||2||56kg||$1.80F|
|3||1||EARTHQUAKE||John O’Shea||Kerrin McEvoy||1L||3||56kg||$3.60|
|4||3||ALPHA MISS||Gary Nickson||Brenton Avdulla||2.8L||6||56kg||$20|
|5||5||SULTRY FEELING||Bart & James Cummings||Tye Angland||4.2L||5||56kg||$18|
|6||6||LADY SHARAPOVA||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||James McDonald||4.5L||4||56kg||$11|
|7||2||PEGGY JEAN||Gerald Ryan||Jim Cassidy||4.9L||7||56kg||$21|