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First Seal retired

Group One winning five-year-old First Seal (Fastnet Rock) has been retired following a customarily brave performance to finish sixth in Saturday's Queen of the Turf Stakes.

First Seal retires with a race record of six wins and over $1.2 million in prizemoney in a 21-start career, hampered by hoof issues.

Showing promise to finish fourth on debut as a two-year-old, her three-year-old season was truly remarkable. She had the wood on the mighty Winx, defeating her on three occasions, in the Gr.2 Tea Rose Stakes, Gr.1 Flight Stakes and then the Gr.2 Surround Stakes earning the title of NSW Champion Horse of the Year.

As a four-year-old she returned to claim the Gr.2 Millie Fox Stakes, then finish second to Holler in the Gr.1 Canterbury Stakes and fourth behind her old nemesis Winx in the Gr.1 George Ryder Stakes. At five she embellished her pedigree further, winning the Gr.2 Tristarc Stakes.

"She has had injuries I have never heard of before, but she has always come back. She is a tough girl," trainer John Thompson said.

"She has had a good career but you always ask if it could have been better. She did beat the best horse we have seen for a while a few times in her younger days before anything happened."

"You always seem to be looking back with her and thinking what might have been because she was always a horse we thought would win more Group Ones."

First Seal lays claim to being the first Group One winner for The China Horse Club who on Saturday tweeted, "All good things come to an end. A truly wonderful mare. Many thanks for all the wonderful memories. #retired #champion #G1."

Bred by Raffles, First Seal is by the champion sire Fastnet Rock out of dual Group One-winning Scenic mare Episode.

She's maybe one of the last Group One purchases made by the legendary Bart Cummings, who went to $700,000 to secure her from Curraghmore's 2013 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Sale draft.


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