Group 1 winners Contributer and First Seal both produced standout performances in a barrier trial at Royal Randwick this morning.
Contributer and First Seal were both entered for the second barrier trial of the morning over 836 metres and they were settled just behind the leading pair, while Flamboyant Lass and Mesa took up the running in the early stages of the barrier trial.
Flamboyant Lass and Mesa cleared away from the talented duo, but it was First Seal and Contributer that both caught the eye of onlookers; First Seal responded well to some urging from jockey Blake Shinn, while Contributer found the line very strongly despite being kept under a heavy hold by James McDonald.
The barrier trial was the second public appearance for First Seal this preparation after she produced a strong trial behind Vancouver at Royal Randwick on July 31 and she is now close to a return to racing in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 22.
First Seal is then set to head to Melbourne for the Group 3 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 12, the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 26, the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 10 and the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington on October 24.
Contributer was making his first public appearance since he scored an impressive win in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21 and his performance should alleviate any fears that he has taken any long-term damage from the injury that kept him out of the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
The High Chaparral entire is set to return to the races in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 5 and he will then progress to either the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 26 or the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4 before he contests the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
Gai Waterhouse-trained Flamboyant Lass may have won the barrier trial, but he was under heavy riding a long way from home, while Thomas Huet kept Mesa under a heavy hold throughout the trial.
Mesa finished third in the Listed Merson Cooper Stakes (1000m) at Sandown on November 15 and fifth in the Listed Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) at Sandown on January 26 in his two race starts, but could be a horse to watch during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
Contributer is currently available at 2015 Cox Plate odds of $10 with Ladbrokes, while First Seal is available at a quote of $21 in the same betting market.