Trainer John Thompson is keen to see his stable star First Seal take on a star studded barrier trial at Randwick on Friday as he ramps up her Autumn Carnival campaign.
The 830m barrier trial is top heavy with Group 1 winners, including Winx, Amicus, Boban and Royal Descent from the Chris Waller stable, Australian Oaks winner Gust Of Wind, the John O’Shea trained import Hartnell and Thousand Guineas winner Stay With Me as well Golden Slipper runner up English and Doomben 100000 runner up Charlie Boy.
First Seal was rated the 2014 – 2015 New South Wales three year old of the year after winning the Group 1 $400,000 Coolmore Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick during the 2014 Spring Carnival.
The Fastnet Rock filly was also runner up at Group 1 level in $400,000 Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick, the $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill and in the Group 1 $400,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill.
But Thompson had to abandon a 2015 Spring Carnival campaign for First Seal as a four year old after she developed an ongoing hoof problem that needed surgery.
Thompson has been happy with the results and following a long rest, First Seal is ready to be tested in a barrier trial prior to her return to the race track.
“It is a little bit exciting when you’ve got your good horses starting their preparations,” Thompson told Racing And Sports.
“First Seal, obviously she’s had an injury, she has come back bigger and better which is great. She had a good long spell.”
“She feels a lot better for having that out of her foot and hasn’t missed a beat all preparation so we are very happy with her and very keen to get her going.”
Thompson is going to get a good guide on where First Seal is at in her preparation when she takes on the strong line up on Friday.
“It will be a very interesting trial, that. There are some big guns in that one,” Thompson said.
“There will be no hiding in that trial, that’s good.”
The Group 2 $250,000 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 13 is a likely Autumn Carnival starting point for First Seal with the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 12 and the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 2, the first day of ‘The Championships’, her main Autumn Carnival aims.
“They are the main aims and we will decide after the Donny what we do after that,” Thompson said.
“She is in for a good prep, she looks great, sound and happy. Very Happy with her.”
First Seal is well in contention in the Doncaster Mile betting at Ladbrokes.com.au at $13 behind Cox Plate winner Winx at $8, Press Statement at $9 and Azkadellia at $11.