First Seal is set to contest the 2016 Canterbury Stakes after she returned to the races with an impressive victory in the 2016 Millie Fox Stakes at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon.
First Seal had not been seen at the races for over 10 months and she was settled towards the tail of the field in the early stages of the race, while Skyline Blush took up the running from Press Report, I’ve Got The Looks and Catkins.
Jockey Blake Shinn took First Seal to the outside of the Millie Fox Stakes field coming into the straight and she responded well when asked for an extra effort to finish over the top of her rivals and record a strong win.
The performance of First Seal in the Millie Fox Stakes capped off an outstanding training performance from John Thompson and he said that he was relieved to see his star mare make a winning return to the races.
“We had a sit down chat about an hour before the race and we just said don’t panic, ride her to hit the line and we knew that she would improve off the back of this run,” Thompson said.
“I have to say that I was worried at the 800 and I didn’t think that she would be that far back, but they were getting along at a good speed and she got it done.
“It was a good effort.”
Thompson confirmed that First Seal will have her next race start in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Royal Randwick on March 5 and he said that he will wait until after that run before he decides whether First Seal contests races like the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m), Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m), Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
“She will definitely go to the Canterbury Stakes and we will decide after we see how she goes there where we go to after that,” Thompson said.
“First things first we will get through today.
“I guarantee that she will improve, she has had a long time off, but she is top quality and that goes a long way.”
Catkins was unable to sprint with her rivals when asked for an extra effort from jockey Hugh Bowman and he said that the talented mare lacked the enthusiasm that she had as a younger horse.