The spring return of John Thompson’s Group 1 winner First Seal is no in doubt with MRI scans to reveal if and when she will be back to the track after being scratched from last Saturday’s Tramway Stakes in Sydney.
Winner of the Flight Stakes as a three-year-old, the now four-year-old daughter of Fastnet Rock was withdrawn from the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) in August with a hoof abscess, and again from the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick last weekend with the ongoing foot issue.
“You’ve got to say that it’s a worry but there’s still plenty of time in the spring and plenty of nice races for her,” Thompson told RSN’s Racing Ahead.
“She had a foot abscess two weeks ago which burst and left her with a hole in her foot.
“It was good for ten days and then on Friday afternoon there was a little bit of a pulse and Saturday morning she trotted up scratchy so we weren’t going to risk it and took her out.”
Thompson has the $835,000 earning mare booked in for a full MRI scan on the affected area on Monday, having already had a precautionary X-ray, and hopes she gets the all clear and he can start to replan her campaign once again.
“Being the horse she is we covered all bases,” he said.
“The thing with her foot is it could come right overnight, we just want to make sure we know what we’re dealing with so we can treat it aggressively and get on top of it.”
First Seal hasn’t raced since April 11 when sixth to the Gai Waterhouse-trained Amanpour in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m), which followed back-to-back Group 1 seconds in the Coolmore Classic and Vinery Stud Stakes.
Her preparation this time in is now wide open and still under that cloud of doubt, but she has been nominated for feature races in both Sydney and Melbourne.
Connections also have her nominated for the weight-for-age $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) in Melbourne at Moonee Valley Racecourse on October 24.
Early Cox Plate betting has international hopefuls Highland Reel ($11) and Arod ($13) leading the way while First Seal pays $26 to become the first mare to win since the ill-fated Pinker Pinker (2011).
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