John Thompson is looking forward to Saturday’s 2015 Coolmore Classic in Sydney where his smart filly First Seal shoots for a Group 1 win over her older rivals at Rosehill Gardens.
No three-year-old has won a Group 1 in open-age company as yet this season, Fastnet Rock filly First Seal looking to be the first this weekend in the $600,000 Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) when taking on the older mares.
She is set to jump favourite in the Coolmore Classic odds at Ladbrokes.com.au however after an imposing start to the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
A winner of four of her eight starts to date, First Seal first rose to prominence during the spring with her Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) victory at Randwick and her second to Hampton Court when taking on the boys in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at the same track that October.
Her first-up run this time in was also at Royal Randwick when she finished three-quarters of a length away second to Adrift in the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m).
She improved off that second-up then at Warwick Farm on February 28 when storming home in an ultra-impressive effort to win the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) by nearly three lengths.
Now she’s chasing a second Group 1 win to add on the record in the Coolmore, which will be her first run at Rosehill since August last year.
Thompson is confident she can rise to the challenge again three runs in, the horseman having taken a thing or two from the books of maestro trainer Bart Cummings in getting a horse ready to peak.
“After working under Bart, you learn to work your horses up to their grand finals. As the preparation goes on, she will get better,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.
On Saturday she will need to be better than her last run as she prepares to take on her older stablemate Danesiri, the six-year-old having won the Group 3 Guy Walter Stakes (1400m) on the same day First Seal won the Surround.
Thompson is pleased with both his in-form female gallopers heading into the Coolmore, both showing improvement since their respective lead-up wins.
“They both won at Warwick Farm and they have both improved since, I’m pretty happy with where they are,” he said.
First Seal was put through her paces on Saturday morning with her regular rider Blake Shinn aboard, the hoop jumping off very pleased with how she felt.
“Blake rode First Seal on Saturday morning and he got off her and said she keeps improving and still has a bit left in her,” Thompson said.
As for his Home On The Grange mare Danesiri, Thompson said he believes she would have won last Saturday’s $150,000 Group 3 Aspiration Quality (1600m) at Randwick had they not saved her for the Group 1.
“I have been very happy with her and I think she would have won on Saturday, if we decided to run, but you don’t get the chance at a group 1 too often,” he said.
“The owners want to have a go and with no weight on her back she is going to run well.”
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