New South Wales horse of the year First Seal has brushed aside her pre-carnival injury scare but still faces a tough task first up after drawing the outside of the field in the Group 2 $175,000 Tattersalls Club Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
The John Thompson trained First Seal was due to kick off her Spring Carnival campaign two weeks ago in the Group 2 $250,000 Pro-Ride Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick but a foot abscess forced her to be a race morning scratching.
Thompson has reported that First Seal has recovered from her setback but her bad luck has continued after she came up with barrier eighteen in the final fourteen horse field plus four emergencies.
“At this stage we are full steam ahead, heading towards the Tramway and hopefully we have got our hurdle out of the way this preparation nice and early and now we are trouble free,” Thompson said before acceptance time.
When the field is reduced to fourteen on Saturday morning after the final scratching deadline, First Seal will jump from the outside of the capacity field giving new rider Tommy Berry plenty of work to do.
Protectionist is also returning from injury as he begins his defence of his 2014 Melbourne Cup victory and has drawn eight in the original draw but could jump from four if all four emergencies fail to gain a start.
Christian Reith has the ride the Kris Lees trained Protectionist who is having his first start since pulling up sore after finishing seventh behind Grand Marshall in the 2015 Group 1 $1.6m Schweppes 150th Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on April 11.
“I am a lot more comfortable with his work this preparation than we were in the autumn,” Lees said.
“He has looked a lot better to our eye, but the proof will be in the pudding when he goes to the races.”
Lees will also saddle up Lucia Valentina who has drawn barrier eleven with Brenton Avdulla to ride.
Premier trainer Chris Waller has two runners in the Tramway Stakes. German import Flamingo Star with Hugh Bowman from barrier three and Strawberry Boy with Jim Cassidy from gate thirteen in the original draw.
Strawberry Road and Flamingo Star are both having their first start since running the quinella in the Listed $100,000 Ambassador Travel The Wayne Wilson Plate (1600m) at Doomben on June 6 during the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
John O’Shea has accepted with four horses runners, but looks likely to only have two runners with Sweynesse and It’s Somewhat making the top fourteen while Hauraki and Malice are the second and third emergencies.
James McDonald takes the ride on Sweynesse (barrier 12) while Glen Boss will be aboard It’s Somewhat (9), Sam Clipperton is on Hauraki (6) and Thomas Huet is on Malice (2).