Flight Stakes winning filly First Seal has been included in the 2014 Spring Champion Stakes field that was released by Racing New South Wales this morning.
First Seal (barrier four) stamped herself as a filly to watch when she scored an upset win in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on September 20 and she proved that performance was no fluke when she raced away from the rest of the field to record a most impressive win in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at the same venue on Saturday.
Trainer John Thompson revealed after the Flight Stakes that he would consider backing the Fastnet Rock filly up in the Spring Champion Stakes and he confirmed yesterday that he would wait until as close to the race as possible before deciding whether to run the three-year-old.
One three-year-old that is certain to take his place in the 2014 Spring Champion Stakes field is Sweynesse, who has the opportunity to deliver trainer John O’Shea his first Group 1 victory since taking over as head trainer of the Godolphin operation in Australia.
Sweynesse (barrier three) started his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a win over First Seal in the Early Quaddie Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 30 and he took out the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) at Newcastle on September 17 before he stamped himself as dominant favourite for the Spring Champion Stakes with a comfortable win in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 27.
Another horse that is taking winning form into the Spring Champion Stakes is Gai Waterhouse-trained Hampton Court.
Hampton Court (barrier seven) finished behind Sweynesse in both the Early Quaddie Handicap and the Spring Stakes before he returned to winning form with a brave performance in the Listed Dulcify Quality (1600m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
One of the most interesting horses in the Spring Champion Stakes field is Paul Messara-trained Panzer Division, who will be returning to three-year-old competition after taking on the older horses in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on September 20.
Panzer Division (barrier nine) was narrowly denied by stablemate Scissor Kick in the Group 3 Up and Coming Stakes (1300m) at Royal Randwick on August 23 and took out the Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m) at the same venue on September 6 before finishing a credible fifth in the George Main Stakes.
David Vandyke-trained Drum Roll (barrier six) faces a significant step-up in class in the Spring Champion Stakes after finishing third in a benchmark 55 event at Goulburn on September 23, while Lie Direct (barrier eight) finished third in his last start at Kembla Grange.
The Spring Champion Stakes field is rounded out by Gai Waterhouse-trained Valentia (barrier five), Gloaming Stakes placegetter Pounamu (barrier two) and tough filly Press Report (barrier one).