First Seal is set to return to the races in the 2015 Tramway Stakes at Royal Randwick on Saturday and trainer John Thompson is confident that his star mare has taken no harm from the foot abscess that kept her out of the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m).
First Seal was set to start the Warwick Stakes as a clear favourite after impressing in two barrier trials in the lead-up to her 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, but she was found with a foot issue the morning of the race and was scratched.
Thompson said that First Seal had responded quickly to treatment for the issue and he told Racing Ahead that the Fastnet Rock mare’s exhibition gallop on Saturday and her trackwork this morning showed that she would go into the 2015 Tramway Stakes at peak fitness.
“We had an exhibition gallop at Rosehill on Saturday and she wasn’t out to break any records, but it was a nice day out to get the blood pumping and the fitness up a little bit,” Thompson said.
“It has done the job and this morning she worked over 600 furlongs on the Kensington track with a mate and she worked very well and came through it very well.
“It is full steam ahead for Saturday.
“It is a set weights plus penalties race, but it is an easier race than the Warwick Stakes that she was set to go first-up in.
“She is up for it, she runs well here at Randwick and 1400 metres first-up at Randwick will only help her.
“She is in good shape, the foot seems to be behind us now and we are glad to get that hurdle out of the way early in the prep rather than leading into an Epsom or something.
“Hopefully the rest of the preparation is trouble free.
“We are well back on track.”
First Seal was partnered by Blake Shinn when she took out the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival and Shinn maintained the ride at the start of the autumn, but he was replaced by James McDonald on the filly for the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) and the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m).
Shinn partnered First Seal in her two barrier trials this preparation, but Tommy Berry has been booked to ride the Group 1 winner in the Tramway Stakes this weekend and Thompson is hopeful that he will stick with the mare throughout the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
“Tommy Berry will ride her,” Thompson said.
“We will judge each race as we go along, but he has ridden her in a few gallops now, he is getting to know her and I don’t want to swap and change riders all the time.
“Hopefully we can get somebody and stick with them.”
The 2015 Tramway Stakes field will be released tomorrow and First Seal is set to take on the likes of Lucia Valentina, Leebaz, Messene, Famous Seamus, Arabian Gold, Rudy and Sweynesse.