For trainer John Thompson, First Seal’s domination of the Flight Stakes is worth so much more than just a Group One win.
The filly represents a new beginning for Thompson after his tenure as Nathan Tinkler’s private trainer officially ended last week with the sale of Patinack Farm.
The controversial Tinkler had endured a couple of controversial years as both his racing and mining businesses collapsed with Thompson doing his best to keep the stable going.
It is in good hands if the reaction from his staff who lined the fence at Randwick on Saturday when First Seal hit the front in the straight is any guide.
They cheered Blake Shinn and the filly home in the fillies’ 1600m race as she strode to a three-length win over Winx.
“It’s been a tough time. Everyone knows that,” Thompson said.
“I have a lot to thank Nathan for but this filly is the start of something new. It’s a new beginning.
“And she is something special. She is untapped.”
First Seal went into the Flight as the $2.30 favourite over Winx ($2.70) who she beat in the traditional lead-up, the Tea Rose Stakes.
The China Horse Club is the major owner of First Seal and a new player on the international stage, forging a partnership with Coolmore to promote racing and breeding in China.
“I went to China to train horses for their first race meeting last year and that was the start of this relationship,” Thompson said.
Thompson said First Seal would not go to Melbourne for next week’s Thousand Guineas but there was a chance she could back up in the Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick.
“I think she is a 2000 metre horse and depending how she is, she could run in the Spring Champion,” he said.
It was also a boost for Thompson after Hooked ran third in the Epsom Handicap after having no luck early.
Thompson retained Hooked after Ultra Thoroughbreds bought him at the Patinack dispersal sale.
Shinn has had his own problems over the past few years and has had to reinvent himself again following the death in May of Guy Walter for whom he was stable rider.
“It’s great to be given the opportunity by the owners and John Thompson and it’s very, very special to be able to win a Group One race for John,” Shinn said.
“She is a very good horse.
“Sometimes you get really good looking horses and they never really live up to what they show or what they look like but she has great presence about her, an unbelievable motor and she just puts it onto the track.”