First Seal On Track for 2016 Doncaster Mile

January 19th, 2016

Trainer John Thompson has been patient with star mare First Seal through the last six months but is confident she is approaching the right condition to return to the races and target an event like the 2016 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on Day 1 of The Championships.

First Seal will target the 2016 Doncaster Mile upon resuming this time. Photo: Steve Hart

First Seal will target the 2016 Doncaster Mile upon resuming this time. Photo: Steve Hart

A Group 1 winner having taken out the 2014 edition of the Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick, First Seal returned to racing in 2015 in typically scintillating form; running second in the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) first-up before returning to the winner’s circle in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m).

Running second in each of the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) and Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) before failing to handle the heavy going and sixth in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) most recently on April 11th, First Seal was unlucky to miss the entire Spring Carnival after it was found she was harbouring a rare keratoma.

While disappointed to have missed so much racing, Thompson told Racenet the mare is close to a complete picture of health and will be set on a path towards the 2016 Doncaster Mile this time.

“We couldn’t work out what it was to start with but once it was finally diagnosed – I had to google it to find out what it was. I’d never heard of it in 25 years of training so it was pretty unusual,” Thompson said.

“Horses never have MRI scans and it just so happened that my best horse was the first I’ve seen have it done.

“It took a little bit longer to heal back over than what was first thought because they didn’t know how big it was until the surgery.

“She’s well on target for that, she looks fantastic, even bigger and stronger than last time.

“Her regular rider just keeps raving about her every day and she’s very experienced, she’s ridden a lot of good horses.

“I know she’s a good horse, we just have to get her back to the races now.”

First Seal has posted four wins and a further five minors through only eleven career starts since first appearing on course competitively in early 2014.

The stable star for Thompson during the 2014 Spring Carnival, the daughter of Fastnet Rock placed second to Sweynesse in a Rosehill minor over 1400m; progressing to consecutive wins in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) and Flight Stakes before ending her preparation second in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m).

First Seal is currently available at 2016 Doncaster Mile odds of $13 for success with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.