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Thompson keeping First Seal options open

The rain in Melbourne this week might further muddy the waters for trainer John Thompson as he attempts to find the firmest surface possible for his class mare First Seal this weekend.

Thompson was hoping he had secured the perfect back-up for First Seal in Friday night's Sunline Stakes at Moonee Valley, but the rain forecast for Melbourne over the next few days means he is likely to dual-accept for both that race and the Emancipation Stakes at Rosehill.

"We need to keep a good watch on the weather," Thompson told Racing.com on Tuesday morning.

"If Rosehill was looking like it was going to be Heavy again, we have got her in at Moonee Valley on Friday night if it looks as though it will be dry."

First Seal is expected to be retired to stud next season so, as she has just a handful more runs remaining, Thompson wants to ensure he gives the Fastnet Rock mare every chance to add to her $1.2 million in earnings.

First Seal will be second-up this weekend and Thompson said she will prove much more competitive than her first-up run, when she faded to run 15th in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic.

"She was in need of a run as she missed her first-up assignment," Thompson explained. "She got too far back from a wide gate the other day. She made a nice run at them in the straight but over the last furlong she just knocked up again.

"She went to run past our other mare Zanbagh but she was fit enough to keep going to run sixth.

"If she (First Seal) was fitter, she would have run better but she has stripped a lot fitter with that run under her belt and she'll go a lot better this weekend with a more positive ride."

Thompson, who was speaking after he watched both mares do their final pieces of strong work on Tuesday morning ahead of the weekend at Randwick, said First Seal was primed to bounce back.

"She worked with Zanbagh on the course proper and she was too good for her," he said. "It's still pretty soft out there so it's good to see her work well in it.

"Zanbagh loves it. She's going very well and she'll run (in the Emancipation). For both mares, their target is the Queen Of The Turf." -racing.com


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