Trainer John Thompson predicts a more ‘switched on’ First Seal will be heading to Warwick Farm on Saturday to make amends for a shock first up defeat when she contests the Group 2 $175,000 Surround Stakes (1400m).
First Seal was sent out the $3.70 second favourite when she failed to run down the $41 outsider of the field Adrift when second in the Group 2 $175,000 Liberty International Underwriters Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on February 14.
Thompson was disappointed with the result but said that the run will tighten her up nicely for Saturday’s rematch against basically the same group of three year old fillies.
“That’s tightened her up a bit, she looks great. You can just tell that run has switched her on,” Thompson told AAP.
Thompson admits that First Seal was vulnerable at her first run back since running second to Hampton Court in the Group 1 $400,000 Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on October 11.
“If they were ever going to beat her it was going to be that run,” Thompson said.
The Fastnet Rock filly joined the elite class of Group 1 winners with a victory in the $400,000 Coolmore Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick a week prior to the Spring Champion Stakes.
Thompson said the way the Randwick track was playing two weeks ago forced jockey Blake Shinn to have the filly not where he would have liked her to be and that contributed to her getting beaten.
“I wasn’t happy with the ride, I’ll put my hand up and say that,” Thompson said.
“It was just disappointing that the track was like it was.
“I couldn’t be too harsh on Blake, he thought the track was that bad on the inside he was just desperate to get away from it and he thought he couldn’t win if he didn’t try to.”
Shinn will again be aboard First Seal who has drawn barrier seven in the twelve horse Surround Stakes field and will be up against the other first four Light Fingers Stakes placegetters, Adrift (1st), Slightly Sweet (3rd) and Peggy Jean (4th).
The Chris Waller pair of Winx and Amicus as well as the Gai Waterhouse trained Supara are also going around in the Surround Stakes after being unplaced in the Light Fingers Stakes.
First Seal has been installed the $2.30 favourite for the Surround Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of Winx at $5 while the Waterhouse trained filly Adrift has been kept safe this week opening up at $7.50.
The Gerald Ryan trained Peggy Jean will also appreciate the step up in distance and has been marked at $8 ahead of Slightly Sweet and Abduction at $11.