First Seal stamped herself as the best filly in Australia with an outstanding victory in the 2014 Flight Stakes at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Jockey Blake Shinn settled First Seal in a lovely position in the early stages of the Flight Stakes and the classy filly cantered up to the lead at the top of the straight without being asked for an extra effort by Shinn.
Shinn pushed the button on First Seal at the 200 metre mark and she stormed clear from her rivals to score a dominant win from Chris Waller-trained Winx and Melbourne filly Thinking Of You in the Flight Stakes.
The leading hoop has had a big opinion of First Seal since he galloped her in the lead-up to the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on September 20 and he is thrilled to develop an association with the classy filly as well as ride a Group 1 winner for John Thompson.
“It is funny you get really good looking horses and they never live up to what they look, but she has great presence about her, she has an unbelievable motor and she just puts it on to the track,” Shinn said.
“It is great to be given the opportunity by the owners and John Thompson and it is very special to be able to win a Group 1 race for John.
“It has been a while coming and it is great to see him get a top line filly.
“I’ve obviously faced a few tough battles, but I have had a lot of support to be where I am today and this is what it is about.”
The Flight Stakes victory was John Thompson’s first Group 1 winner and the emotional trainer was clearly delighted to have finally recorded a win at the highest level of racing.
Thompson paid credit to Bart Cummings and Duncan Ramage, the racing manager for Dato’ Tan Chin Nam, who purchased the filly and he believes that the Fastnet Rock has limitless potential in front of her.
“She has showed us from day one that she is very good and the first day Blake galloped her a couple of weeks back he couldn’t even talk, he was just giggling and we knew we had something special,” Thompson said.
“She is definitely the best filly I have had and we have some good wins in store.”
First Seal has been included in the nominations for the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11, the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick next weekend and the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington on November 6, but Thompson is yet to decide where the three-year-old will have her next race start.
“It is hard to say and I will let the horse tell me,” Thompson said.
“She is in here next week in the Spring Champion and we may think about that, but we see how she gets through today first.”
First Seal is part-owned by the China Horse Club and the Flight Stakes win was their first ever victory at Group 1 level.