A smart piece of work at Rosehill Gardens last Saturday has trainer John Thompson confident his early Epsom Handicap favourite First Seal can get the job done first-up in this weekend’s 2015 Tramway Stakes.
Originally Thompson planned to run the Flight Stakes winner in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) on August 24, but she was scratched from the race and instead had an exhibition gallop Rosehill last weekend on Run To The Rose Day with stablemate Hooked.
A foot abscess ruled her out of the Warwick Stakes, but she has made a full recovery from the early season setback and looks in top form heading into her new first-up target after also working with a fellow Thompson-trained galloper on the Kensington track on Tuesday morning.
“She won the gallop by about five or six lengths, finishing off in 23 (seconds) with plenty left,” Thompson told Racenet.
“The exhibition gallop was terrific for her. She wasn’t out there to break any records but it’s brought her fitness along and she’s really thrived since.
“She’s in a good spot going into the first-up run. She’ll obviously improve off this Saturday but I’m very happy, she’s great.”
Thompson plans to accept her for the $175,000 Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) on Chelmsford Stakes Day at Royal Randwick this Saturday where he believes the distance will be ideal for a resuming run.
“I think the 1400 first-up is actually good for her,” he said.
“It gives her the chance to travel, she goes better when she travels, whereas anything shorter than that she’s just that little bit off the bit.”
She has had three previous runs over 1400m for two wins and a second, her latest being the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) success at Warwick Farm in late February after which she ran second in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) and Group 1 Venery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill in March.
First Seal’s last official start was a sixth to Amanpour in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on April 11 during The Championships, and she has also trialled twice before her gallop last Saturday.
The now four-year-old daughter of Fastnet Rock is nominated for the $1 million Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on October 3.
Only one mare has won the Epsom Handicap in the past 30 plus years with Secret Admirer (2011), but this year the bookies are taking no chances with First Seal.
She leads the pre-field Epsom Handicap betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au paying a current $7 for next month’s mile classic.
Thompson’s other galloper from last weekend, Hooked is also nominated for the Tramway on the weekend with the Casino Prince stallion making his five-year-old debut.
A winner of four of his 25 starts he has seen the Randwick track nine times under race conditions but is yet to win, his trainer hoping for improvement on his mediocre autumn – winter preparation.
The other single figure hope in early Epsom Handicap odds meanwhile paying $8 to hand Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller with his third straight win in the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival feature following the victories of Boban (2013) and He’s Your Man (2014) is Kermadec.
Winner of the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) over the same track and distance as the Epsom to see out his autumn last prep, the Teofilo four-year-old returned in the Warwick Stakes and ran fifth as the beaten favourite to his stablemate Royal Descent.
He too runs this weekend at Sydney’s meeting in the day’s headline race, the weight-for-age $250,000 Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m).
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