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First Seal Wins Gr2 Surround Stakes
At Warwick Farm in Sydney, Coolmore's Gr1-winning son of Danehill Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) added a Group success when top-class 3YO filly First Seal (Fastnet Rock-Episode, by Scenic) scored by 2.8-lengths for trainer John Thompson in the $175,000 Gr2 Surround Stakes (1400m) for 3YO fillies, over fellow 3YO fillies Supara (Domesday-Unabated, by Encosta de Lago) & Slightly Sweet (Charge Forward-Semitone, by Dubai Destination). This was a brilliant return to form by First Seal, who took her record to 4 wins (including the Gr1 Flight Stakes & Gr2 Tea Rose Stakes) and 3 places (including the Gr1 Spring Champion Stakes & Gr2 Light Fingers Stakes) from 8 starts for $625,060 earnings. "She was underdone last start but I still thought she would probably win. She found a bit of trouble and the track didn't play in our favour that day," Thompson told TVN. "Today was a different story. We'd drawn to get a run. We didn't care if we were wide, she just needed clear running and she would do the rest." He added, "She goes to the Coolmore (Gr1) next run, that was always the plan and depending on how she runs it that we will decide if she goes to the Vinery or the Doncaster." The Gr1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) will be run at Rosehill on 14 March. Purchased for NZ$700,000 by legendary trainer Bart Cummings at the 2013 NZB Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Curraghmore Stud, First Seal races for a syndicate that includes the China Horse Club, Raffles Thoroughbred Racing and Think Big Stud. From dual Oaks winner Episode, First Seal is a three-quarter sister to Gr2 Phar Lap Stakes winner Book Of Kells (Rock Of Gibraltar) and a half-sister to the stakes-placed Best Command (Court Command).