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John Thompson won’t stretch his rising four-year-old First Seal out over further than a mile this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival with the Flight Stakes winner to target the 2015 Myer Classic this campaign.
While new season plans aren’t set in stone for the “rejuvenated” daughter of Fasntet Rock, Thompson is keen to keep her to 1600m this time in heading towards the $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington Racecourse on Victoria Derby Day, October 31, during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Thompson said they would also seek out the dry ground for her spring runs, the filly showing a dislike for rain-affected surfaces during her eight start career so far.
“We’re definitely not going to stretch her out in distance, I think the 2000 metres was just a bit too far for her,” Thompson told Racenet this week.
“When she had her two attempts at 2000 metres it was off the back of two hard mile runs so it might have made her a bit flat but I think she excels at a mile.
“We also exposed that she definitely doesn’t like wet tracks.”
Expectations of First Seal fell short during the autumn after her flying spring last year but Thompson hopes her new maturity after her latest spell can see her atone when she makes her return.
A winner of four of her 11 starts so far, she is best known for her impressive three length victory over Winx in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in October last year.
She was also runner-up behind Hampton Court at her next run in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) when stepped out over more distance to take on the boys before being turned out for a spell.
A hot pace was her undoing in the Spring Champion Stakes and her autumn prospects were high when she came back this February, kicking things off with a second in the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m).
Plenty went right for the filly after that including an easy Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) win at Warwick Farm and two more Group 1 seconds behind Plucky Belle and Fenway in the Coolmore Classic (1500m) and Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) respectively.
Her 55.5kg weight in the Coolmore Classic as well as a wide run throughout ruined her chances of bagging a second Group 1 win that day against the older mares as the odds-on favourite, and in the Vinery Stud Stakes was also beaten as the punters’ pick.
Her latest start however was a disappointing sixth to Amanpour in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) when beaten nearly five lengths on a Soft (7) Randwick rack on April 1 during Sydney’s The Championships.
While the autumn didn’t exactly go to plan for Thompson and First Seal, all signs after her latest spell are for an improved spring and hopefully another Group 1 to add to the record.
“She’s spelled very well and has come back rejuvenated,” he said.
If First Seal kicks things off in Sydney before heading to Melbourne, Thompson nominated the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) as her likely target at Randwick on October 3.
“The Sydney option is leading into the Epsom and the Melbourne option is through the Sir Rupert Clarke, Toorak and Myer,” Thompson said.
“We’ll probably get a little bit further into her work and then decide which way to head.
“It’s good having two options because if it’s wet in Melbourne we can go to Sydney or vice-versa.”
In Melbourne the $400,000 Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) runs at Caulfield Racecourse on September 26 and is followed by the $400,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap back over the same track and distance on October 10 ahead of the Myer Classic for fillies and mares.
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