Trainer John Thompson admits Saturday’s Surround Stakes 2015 is not the Grand Final for his Group 1 winning filly First Seal this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival but does believe she is “switched on” and ready to run a good race at Warwick Farm.
One of 13 three-year-old fillies nominated for this year’s $175,000 Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) on Chipping Norton Stakes Day, Thompson’s daughter of Fastnet Rock is second-up for the season.
She resumed at Randwick on February 14 and ran a nice second when three-quarters of a length off upset winner Adrift in the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m).
That was her first run since taking on the boys in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at the same track in October last year where she was far from disgraced when second past the post behind the Gai Waterhouse-trained winner Hampton Court.
Before the Spring Champion First Seal, a winner of three of her seven starts to date, was on fire winning the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) against her own age and sex over the Randwick mile on the back of another victory at the track in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m).
Saturday she’s in another fillies-only showdown and is sure to start near the top of the odds as she takes on Waterhouse’s Lightning Stakes winner Adrift once again.
Also nominated to back up from a Lightning Stakes run are the likes of Jason Coyle’s third placed Charge Forward filly Slightly Sweet and the Gerald Ryan-trained fourth placegetter Peggy Jean who won the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes last April.
Thompson is tipping improvement from First Seal going into the Surround Stakes where she could be hard to hold out after her strong work in Tuesday morning.
“She was good this morning,” he told Racenet yesterday.
“She went five and three (1000 metre gallop, sprinting home the last 600 metres) on the course proper with a mate.
“Sat behind it and beat it easy running home in about 21.4 (seconds) which is the sort of time she runs.
“She’s improved a lot. I’m sure she probably took more benefit out of her first-up run than most of them did.
“The first run has switched her right on.”
Blake Shinn retains the ride in the Surround Stakes where Thompson believes she’ll be a competitive force despite being set for bigger things this time in including the $600,000 Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) against the older mares at Rosehill Gardens on March 14.
She’s also nominated for a host of races during Sydney’s two-day The Championships with the most likely options being the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 4 and the $1 million Group 1 Queen Of the Turf Stakes (1600m) on April 11.
“It’s not her grand final yet and I’m sure she’ll take good benefit from Saturday’s run but she’s ready to run very well on Saturday,” Thompson said.
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