First Seal will return to the races in the 2016 Millie Fox Stakes after a lengthy stint on the sidelines, but trainer John Thompson is confident that the talented mare is forward enough to win the Group 2 event at Rosehill Gardens tomorrow.
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 foot issue ruled her out of the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival, but has done plenty of work in the lead-up to her racing return.
Thompson admitted that he was slightly worried after First Seal was outpaced by the likes of Terravista and Exosphere in a barrier trial at Warwick Farm on February 8, but he told Racing Ahead that she had thrived since that trial and is ready to run well fresh in the 2016 Millie Fox Stakes.
“She is really good,” Thompson said.
“She obviously had a long break, but she ticked all the boxes at home and she has had a couple of trials and an exhibition gallop.
“Her first trial was really good and her second trial I went back in distance and she went up against Terravista and Exosphere, who are two of the best sprinters in the country.
“They were just a bit sharp for her and Blake Shinn and I both walked away from that trial shaking our heads a little bit, but she still went good.
“She had the exhibition gallop the other day and Hugh Bowman said that she was flying and Blake said ‘she’s back’ when he rode her in a gallop.
“Those trials cleaned her and she is ready to go now.
“Being such a big gross mare she will improve with the run, but she is forward enough if she is good enough.
“You have to give Catkins a lot of respect, she is a good mare and she goes very well first-up, but I am happy with my mare.”
First Seal has been included in the nominations for the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m), but Thompson confirmed that the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) is the major Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival target for the four-year-old.
First Seal is currently available at 2016 Millie Fox Stakes odds of $3 with Ladbrokes and she is on the second line of betting behind Catkins ($2.15).