Trainer John Thompson has opted to put the blinkers on First Seal in an attempt to enhance her chances in the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
The Doncaster Mile is one of four Group 1 races on the first day of ‘The Championships’ and Thompson is hoping to add another Group 1 trophy with First Seal’s name on it to is his silverware cabinet.
Thompson decided to try the blinkers on First Seal after she was beaten four and three quarter lengths when fourth to Winx in the Group 1 $1m China Horse Club George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 19.
First Seal will drop 4kg on her last start George Ryder Stakes fourth and will meet Winx 3.5kg better at the weights in their return clash.
First Seal wore the blinkers in track work on Tuesday morning and Thompson gave the go ahead for the Fastnet Rock mare to wear the head gear for the time under race conditions on Saturday.
The 2014 Group 1 Flight Stakes winner will also have a change of jockey with Tommy Berry having his first race ride on the mare, taking over from regular rider Blake Shinn who was unable to get down to the 53kg she has to carry in the Doncaster Mile.
First Seal has been racing on the pace at her last two starts, but Thompson will be instructing Berry to ride her further back in the field from the inside gate.
“A bigger field in a race like the Doncaster will suit her because she can sit back and let the others do the work up front,” Thompson said.
First Seal resumed from a lengthy injury enforced break to score a first up win in the Group 2 $175,000 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on February 20 before running second to Holler in the Group 1 $500,000 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on March 5.
The Chris Waller trained Winx is chasing her ninth win on the trot and has been installed the $1.85 favourite for the Doncaster Mile at Ladbrokes.com.au with First Seal marked as a $16 chance.
Doncaster Mile market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $1.85 Winx, $7.50 Kermadec, $11 Azkadellia, Happy Clapper, $14 Bow Creek, $16 First Seal, $21 Turn Me Loose, $26 Volkstok’N’Barrell, Good Project, He Or She, $51 Stratum Star, $61 Ecuador, Rudy, $101 Vergara, $201 Aomen.