Rival trainer Clarry Conners has conceded that First Seal is the one to beat in the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Conners will saddle up quality mare Dear Demi who will be having her second run back from a spell after finishing fifth to Danesiri in the Group 3 $150,000 Guy Walter Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on February 28.
Dear Demi was beaten just under three lengths and Conners is hoping for a better performance over the 1500m this week but can see the John Thompson trained First Seal also suited by the step up in distance.
“I was a bit disappointed she didn’t go better first-up,” Conners told AAP.
“She was up too close in a fast-run race but she still went OK.
“And she has come out of the race well.
“First Seal will be very hard to beat but we will be trying.”
Dear Demi won the 2012 Group 1 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington and has raced in the top company since including a win during the 2014 Spring Carnival in the Group 2 $200,000 Top Cut Foods Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
But the closest the Dehere mare has come to winning another Group 1 was a second to Side Glance in the 2013 $1m Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington which followed a third to Fawkner in the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield.
First Seal claimed Group 1 glory with a win in the $400,000 Coolmore Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick during the 2014 Spring Carnival but then suffered a shock defeat when resuming for a second to Adrift in the Group 2 $175,000 Liberty International Underwriters Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on February 14.
The Fastnet Rock filly then redeemed herself with a dominant two and three quarter lengths win in the Group 2 $175,000 Surround Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on February 28.
That win ensures that First Seal will be the short priced favourite for the Coolmore Classic with early betting at Ladbrokes.com.au offering $1.80 for the three year old filly to beat the older mares.
Dear Demi is on the second line of betting at $8 just ahead of the Chris Waller trained Winx at $9, Arabian Gold at $10 and Mahara and Plucky Belle both at $11.