This Saturday John Thompson’s classy filly First Seal will jump favourite in the Coolmore Classic 2015, but the challenge is there after she was allocated 55.5kg for the handicap clash at Rosehill.
If successful she will be carrying the second-highest weight ever by a Coolmore Classic winning filly.
The field for this year’s $600,000 Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m), one of the most prestigious fillies and mares features of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, is out this morning.
Weights were allocated by Racing NSW handicappers earlier in the week with the Clarry Conners-trained Dear Demi to shoulder the 58kg top weight.
It will be a massive task for the 2012 Crown Oaks winner as the last mare to carry more than 57kg to victory in the race was the mighty Sunline with 60kg back in 2002.
As mentioned, Thompson’s Fastnet Rock filly First Seal also has her own weight-carrying hoodoo to overcome.
The last three-year-old filly to beat home her older rivals in the Coolmore Classic was the Peter Moody-trained Typhoon Tracy in 2009, but she only carried 51.5kg to victory.
Other three-year-olds to win the Coolmore Classic in recent years include Tuesday Joy (2007) with 53kg, Regal Cheer (2006) with 52.5kg, Shamekha (2004) with 53kg and Bolinger (2003) with 53kg.
Punters then have to look back to 1997 to find a three-year-old who carried the same weight as First Seal has been allocated with the Gai Waterhouse-trained Assertive Lass carted 55.5kg for her Coolmore win.
Since the Coolmore Classic was inaugurated in 1973 however, the only three-year-old winner to carry more than the 55.5kg to victory was Bounding Away who did it back in 1986 with a hefty 57.5kg.
A winner of four of her three starts, also running second three times, First Seal has only finished out of the money once in her career to date.
She is best known for her Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) win at Randwick during the spring, after which she took on the boys in the Group 1 Spring Champions Stakes (2000m) and ran a brave second to Hampton Court.
This season she has had the two runs, winning her most recent when flying home over Supara by nearly three lengths in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on February 28.
Now she takes on the older mares in a tough Group 1 assignment looking to become a dual elite level winner at her ninth start.
First Seal will be Thompson’s sole runner in the Coolmore Classic this year after his other promising hope Danesiri suffered a bowed tendon at trackwork on Tuesday.
The six-year-old was in flying form this autumn including her Group 3 Guy Walter Stakes (1400m) win last time out, but is now likely to be retired to stud.
“I feel for Danesiri’s owners because they were looking forward to having their first Group 1 runner,” Thompson told The Daily Telegraph yesterday.
“She did a good piece of work, but when she cooled down it was obvious her leg wasn’t right.
“It’s very disappointing.”
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