First Seal is on track to put her name in lights during the autumn carnival as a three-year-old after destroying her rivals to brilliantly win the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm.
The John Thompson-trained filly was the $1.65 odd-on favourite in the betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, well and truly justifying her favouritism to win nearly three lengths clear of Gai Waterhouse’s Supara with Jason Coyle’s Slightly Sweet rounding out the first three.
Adrift beat First Seal in the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) two weeks ago but put a blow in her chances at winning her second consecutive start after missing the jump, ending up a long way back end of the field.
First Seal was in the second half of the field with 600m to go but began to roll forward heading towards the straight. As she turned for home the filly displayed her signature devastating turn of foot, letting rip down the centre and winning hands and heels in an easy victory.
Blake Shinn delivered the winning ride on First Seal in a highly tactical ride. The hoop let Adrift run past as the filly made her way up from the back of the field, jumping on her back before soaring away to the front.
“She felt really good, she’s a great filly which she proved back in the spring by winning the Flight Stakes and she’s come back in great order,” he said.
“It’s terrific to start her autumn campaign with a win today.
“Ideally I would have loved to be closer but I had to ride her where she was comfortable.”
Thompson was very happy with the 2015 Surround Stakes win, especially after just missing out in the Light Fingers first-up.
“It’s a relief after her last run. She was overdone last start but I still thought she’d probably win but she just found a bit of trouble and the track didn’t play in our favour from barrier one but today is a different story,” he said.
“We don’t care if we’re wide, just give her a clear running and she’ll do the rest.”
The trainer revealed First Seal will head to the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) on March 14 next after which she could travel to either the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) or Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m), depending on her performance.
“She goes to the Coolmore next start, that was always planned, and then just depending on how she runs in that is when we decide if she goes to the Vinery or the Doncaster.
“We’re just taking it one race at a time.”
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2015 Surround Stakes Race Results & Finishing Order
|1||2||FIRST SEAL||John P Thompson||Blake Shinn||–||7||56kg||$1.50F|
|2||11||SUPARA||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||2.8L||2||56kg||$26|
|3||9||SLIGHTLY SWEET||Jason Coyle||Ms Kathy O’Hara||4.1L||3||56kg||$21|
|4||3||AMICUS||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||4.3L||8||56kg||$26|
|5||4||WINX||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||4.8L||9||56kg||$9|
|6||8||WINE TALES||Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy||4.9L||1||56kg||$21|
|7||7||ADRIFT (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Tye Angland||5.3L||6||56kg||$8.50|
|8||10||CANDELARA||Bjorn Baker||Glyn Schofield||6.1L||10||56kg||$151|
|9||12||HIGH ABOVE||Anthony Cummings||Christian Reith||6.5L||12||56kg||$51|
|10||1||PEGGY JEAN||Gerald Ryan||Kerrin McEvoy||7.2L||5||56kg||$18|
|11||6||ABDUCTION||John O’Shea||James McDonald||7.8L||11||56kg||$21|
|12||5||LUCKY RAQUIE||Gerald Ryan||Brenton Avdulla||8L||4||56kg||$81|