Stand-in rider Hugh Bowman described First Seal as feeling ‘awesome’ after he rode her work during the week in preparation for the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Regular rider Blake Shinn was out of the country this week and Bowman deputised in Tuesday’s gallop with the leading jockey delivering a glowing report to trainer John Thompson.
“Hugh galloped her on Tuesday because Blake wasn’t here and when he got off his words were `she feels awesome’,” Thompson told AAP.
“Hughie doesn’t say much so I was happy with that.”
Shinn has ridden First Seal on four occasions, including a last start win against the three year old fillies in the Group 2 $175,000 Surround Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on February 28 and will be back aboard again on Saturday when she takes on the older mares.
The in-form jockey’s other rides on the smart filly resulted with wins in the Group 2 $175,000 Coolmore Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) and the Group 1 $400,000 Coolmore Flight Stakes (1600m) both at Randwick during the 2014 Sydney Spring Carnival.
Shinn was also in charge when First Seal was defeated by Gai Waterhouse’s longshot Adrift who scored a surprise first up win in the Group 2 $175,000 Liberty International Underwriters Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on February 14.
First Seal has drawn awkwardly at barrier eleven in the thirteen horse Coolmore Classic field and even though she will need plenty of luck in the early and middle stages, Thompson is not too overly concerned.
“The barrier makes it a little bit harder again but I think she’s better drawn a bit wide and getting plenty of room, rather than draw inside and get cluttered up,” Thompson said.
First Seal is taking on the older mares for the first times but Thompsom says the Fastnet Rock filly has all the attributes to handle the new challenge.
“It’s more of a challenge and it’s an unknown thing going up against the mares,” Thompson said.
“She’s big, she’s strong, she’s a good doer, she’s a good worker, all of those things. She has a lovely nature.”
First Seal completely dominates the Coolmore Classic betting at $1.80 and is the only runner under double figures at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The next in the betting is Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes runner-up Plucky Belle at $11 ahead of Thump and Mahara at $13, topweight Dear Demi and Adrift at $15, Tinto at $16 with Diamond Drille, Arabian Gold and Amicus all at $17.