The Group II ATC Tea Rose Stakes at Randwick on Saturday was won in impressive style by exciting filly First Seal (3f Fastnet Rock x Episode, by Scenic), who upstaged the favourites Winx and Earthquake.
A lightly raced filly prepared by John Thompson, First Seal looked good when breaking her maiden at Randwick on August 13 and then bumped into Group III ATC Spring Stakes winner Sweynesse when second at Rosehill on August 30 on a very heavy track.
Back on top of the ground for this 1400 metre assignment, she travelled well for Blake Shinn behind the leaders before powering past the favourites to score an eye-catching three-quarter length win.
“Back on a dry track we saw the turn of foot we know she has at home,” said John Thompson.
“She’s a high class filly, untapped. Once she gets to the classic distances, she’ll really come to the fore.”
A $700,000 NZB Premier purchase from the Curraghmore Stud draft for Bart Cummings, First Seal runs for a powerful group of owners that includes China Horse Club, Raffles Thoroughbred Racing and Think Big Stud.
Entered for all the three year-old majors this spring, First Seal has two wins and a second on the board from just four starts with prizemoney of $158,360.
Bred by Raffles Dancers, First Seal is a three-quarter sister to Group II STC Tulloch Stakes winner Book of Kells and is the seventh winner for Episode, who won both the Group I SAJC Australasian Oaks and South Australian Oaks as well as finishing second in the Queensland Oaks.
First Seal is the 66th stakes-winner for champion sire Fastnet Rock, who also posted a double at Caulfield with smart wins for promising three year-old Firehouse Rock (3c Fastnet Rock x Bird of Fire, by Stravinsky), who is on the Victoria Derby trail and newly gelded four year-old Fast ‘n’ Rocking (4g Fastnet Rock x For the Good Times, by Hennessy), both prepared by David Hayes and Tom Dabernig.