As one door closes another one has opened for trainer John Thompson with First Seal signalling a new era for his stable.
Just days after Hooked won the Cameron Handicap at Newcastle to bring an end to Thompson’s association with Nathan Tinkler’s Patinack Farm, First Seal has stamped herself a star for the China Horse Club.
The filly upset the high-profile Winx and Earthquake to win the Group Two Tea Rose Stakes over 1400m, a distance her trainer thought may have been too short with punters agreeing, sending her out at $19.
“Once she gets over those classic distances she will really come to the fore,” Thompson said.
“I told the owners yesterday she probably won’t win over the 1400 metres but class goes a long way.
“It’s great for the owners to be rewarded with the horse I told them was the best they had.”
Blake Shinn steered First Seal along the fence and she stucjk to her guns to hold off the favourite Winx ($1.90) by three-quarters of a length with race leader Earthquake ($3.60) another head third.
Thompson struck up an association with the China Horse Club last year and is looking forward to better things.
“This has been the most emotional week of my life,” Thompson said.
“It’s been a tough time watching the horses leave the stable, bar Hooked.
“You get attached to them and the staff do too. We’ve got a lot of empty boxes.”
Tinkler’s horses will be sold by Magic Millions at the end of the month. Hooked will be sold in absentia with Thompson to keep him up to the mark so his new owners can run him in the Epsom Handicap if they wish.
First Seal will run on Epsom day, October 4, in the Group One Flight Stakes (1600m).
“She is a very good horse,” he said.
“The Flight is the race for her. She can only get better over further and she is an important horse for the stable.
“It shows if we get quality horses we can do the job.”
Earthquake is unlikely to head to the Flight with the Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at the end of the Melbourne Cup carnival a target but Winx remains on track for the longer distance.