Trainer John Thompson has revealed that the 2016 Doncaster Mile will be the major Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival target for classy mare First Seal.
First Seal has not been seen at the races since she finished sixth in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 11, after a nasty foot abscess ruled her out of the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival, but she has been back in work for a couple of months and he is close to a return to racing.
Thompson told Racing Ahead that at this stage First Seal will return to the races in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on February 13 and he said that she could contest races like the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 12 and the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at the same venue a week later on her way to the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 2.
“At this stage she will probably run on the 13th in the Apollo and if we are not happy to go to the 1400 first-up then there is the 1200 metre on the day for mares or the following week there is the 1300,” Thompson said.
“She is going to run around that time and it is just a matter of what distance we want first-up.
“We are definitely heading to the Doncaster through the Coolmore and if she went outstanding first-up she may go to the George Ryder.
“They are the races in the mix, but we will take it one run at a time and they are the races in the mix.
“She seems 100 percent again.”
First Seal was sent to start her 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 22, but she was ruled out of the race after being found with a foot abscess and her preparation was finished before it started after she underwent an operation to remove a ball of skin from her hoof.
Thompson is confident that First Seal has taken no long-term damage from the hoof issue and he could not be happier with the physical condition of the Fastnet Rock filly ahead of the 2016 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
“She is very well,” Thompson said.
“She is well into her gallops and a couple of weeks off a trial.
“She is going super, she is big and strong and sound.
“I would say that she is probably 20 or 30 kilos heavier than last preparation and she has developed into a really nice mare now
“I am very happy with her and she looks $1 million.”
First Seal is currently available at 2016 Doncaster Mile odds of $13 with Ladbrokes and she is on the fourth line of betting behind Winx ($8), Press Statement ($9) and Azkadellia ($11).