First Seal Fabulous
Glamour Fastnet Rock filly First Seal (3f Fastnet Rock Episode, by Scenic) was back to her brilliant best at Warwick Farm on Saturday when she trounced a slick field to win the Group II ATC Surround Stakes as she pleased. Sent out a red hot favourite for the 1400 metre assignment, she powered away for Blake Shinn to win by nearly three lengths in a dominant display. "I’ve been lucky enough to ride some top class horses and she’s right up there with the best I have ever ridden,” Shinn said. "She’s amazing. A great filly.” Trainer John Thompson was also rapt with the ease of her win, but is taking it one step at a time when charting her autumn course. "We go to the Coolmore next start,” Thompson said. "That’s always been the plan. "Depending on how she goes there against the older mares we will then head to the Vinery or the Doncaster.” 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, which is managed by Duncan Ramage. A Group I winner in the spring, First Seal has four wins and three seconds on the board from just eight starts with prizemoney of $625,060. 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. Episode has a yearling full brother to First Seal that was sold at Karaka this year to Chris Waller Racing for $350,000. Fastnet Rock has had some outstanding fillies over the years including the likes of Atlantic Jewel and Mosheen, with First Seal promising to put herself right up there with them. Fastnet Rock was also close to Group I success on Saturday with Fast ‘n’ Rocking (4g Fastnet Rock x For the Good Times, by Hennessy) finishing third in the Group I MRC Oakleigh Plate and lightly raced filly Lake Geneva (2f Fastnet Rock x Hips Don’t Lie, by Stravinsky) grabbing third in the Group I MRC Blue Diamond Stakes at just her second race start.