Trainer John Thompson has revealed that talented mare First Seal will be kept to races up to a mile when she returns to racing during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
First Seal stamped herself as one of the promising horses in Australia when she recorded a dominant victory in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) last year, but she was beaten when she stepped up to 2000 metres for the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick a week later and she suffered another surprise defeat over 2000 metres in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) during her recent autumn preparation.
Thompson said that connections are yet to decide the exact races that they wish to target with First Seal during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival, but he believes that races like the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m), Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m), Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) and Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) are all more likely options for First Seal than the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
“I dare say that she will be kept to 1400 or mile races,” Thompson said.
“What their main targets I am not really sure as of yet and I have put it to them to decide.
“I would daresay that the Myer, Emirates and probably the Sir Rupert Clarke and the Toorak on the way to that.
“At the moment I think that she is definitely at her best at the mile because she has a great turn-of-foot off a better speed.
“She is a very strong filly, but she is a bit immature and I think that in time she will get 2000 metres, but for the time being we are probably better off keeping her to the mile.”
A great deal was expected of First Seal heading into 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, but she was only able to record the one win in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on February 28 and she finished close seconds in both the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 14 and the Vinery Stud Stakes before she was only fair in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 11.
Thompson believes that First Seal was slightly unlucky during her autumn campaign and he is hopeful that his star filly will be able to get her racing career back on track when she returns to racing in the spring.
“She is spelling well down at Think Big Stud,” Thompson said.
“She will come back in the first week of June and we will get her going again.
“We definitely didn’t have much luck and it was a bit of a shame, but she came through the prep well which is the main thing and she appears to be spelling great.
“Hopefully in the spring we can get back on track.”
First Seal is currently available at 2015 Cox Plate odds of $21 with Ladbrokes, while Contributer ($8) is a narrow favourite from Criterion ($9), Our Ivanhowe ($11) and Pornichet ($11).