John Thompson’s former Flight Stakes winner First Seal is on track for a 2016 Myer Classic bid in Melbourne this spring after an impressive trail performance in the wet in Sydney on Monday morning.
The now five-year-old daughter of Fastnet Rock lined-up in the morning’s opening heat on the course proper at Royal Randwick over 1200m and enjoyed a victory ahead of her spring return.
It was her second official trial since her unplaced run when 12th behind Chris Waller’s super mare Winx in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) back in early April.
Her other hit-out produced a fourth behind English on August 19 over 850m at Randwick.
Thompson said there were excuses in the Doncaster with First Seal suffering a bone injury earlier in her autumn prep, which the team didn’t discover until after her ‘The Championships’ run.
After a first-up Rosehill win in February’s Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m), the mare finished second to Holler in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) and fourth to Winx in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
It was in the Canterbury Stakes she sustained the injury, but Thompson is confident she’s made a full recovery and is ready to return to her best form this time in.
“She was galloped on and shattered her splint bone second up [in the Canterbury Stakes] and we didn’t know until after her run in the Doncaster,” Thompson told Racing Victoria on Monday morning.
“It’s not a weight bearing bone so it was removed and she seems to have fully recovered and is going really well.
“With the injury we’ve held her back a little bit and have brought her up nice and steadily with the view to have her peaking in Melbourne.”
Thompson is eyeing the lucrative $400,000 Group 2 Golden Pendant (1400m) first-up at Rosehill Gardens on September 24 for First Seal.
Her Grand Final will be at Flemington Racecourse on Derby Day, October 29, in the $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“There was nice improvement from her first trial to her second trial which is what we want to see and she’ll improve again in the next couple of weeks going into the Golden Pendant,” Thompson said.
“She’ll then have one run over 1400m at Caulfield [Tristarc Stakes] before the Myer Classic.”
The $200,000 Group 2 Schweppes Tristarc Stakes (1400m) runs on Caulfield Cup Day, October 15.
The Tristarc has produced two Myer Classic winners in the past four years with Appearance (7th in 2012) and Red Tracer (2013) who completed the double.
Before the Millie Fox Stakes this autumn, First Seal’s other latest run was in February of 2015 in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) after which she went on to run second in both the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) and Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) that season.
She is best known however for her own elite level win in October of 2014 when winning Randwick’s Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m), defeating Winx home in the mile classic as a three-year-old.
Winx has gone on to stamp herself as Australia’s best racehorse winning her past 10 races on the trot including six Group 1s.
She was last seen winning the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) first-up in a canter by over three lengths, but was scratched from last Saturday’s Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) due to the Heavy-rated Randwick track.
Winx will instead race second-up in the $500,000 Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) Saturday week at Randwick on September 17.
The George Main Stakes is a race Waller has won three times in the past four years enjoying success with Shoot Out (2012), Sacred Falls (2014) and Kermadec (2015).
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