In the two years since she was beating Winx in their three-year-old season, much has gone wrong for First Seal while her rival has gone to dizzy heights.
First Seal makes her latest comeback at Rosehill on Saturday with her trainer John Thompson convinced she can again be a force.
The mare is the favourite in first markets and one of 15 entries for the Group Two Golden Pendant (1400m), her first start since she finished unplaced in the Doncaster Mile, 13 lengths from the winner Winx.
After the Doncaster, she was found to have a fractured a splint bone, an injury believed to have happened two starts earlier.
Thompson is philosophical about the level Winx has reached in the past 18 months and is looking forward rather than dwelling on what could have been.
“Winx has improved out of sight,” Thompson said.
“But First Seal is a special horse,” Thompson said.
“It breaks my heart what she has had to go through with a hoof problem and then the fracture. It seems to always happen to the good ones.
“But she’s sound now and is a happy horse.”
“I just want to get First Seal back winning again and the Golden Pendant is an easy option at the weights and with good prize money.”
First Seal will carry 58kg which includes a three kilogram penalty for her win over Winx in the 2014 Group One Flight Stakes in October 2014.
In first markets on the Golden Pendant, the TAB has First Seal the $3.60 favourite ahead of the in-form Heavens Above and Ravi at $7.
Heavens Above won the Group Three Sheraco Stakes at her most recent start and will use the Golden Pendant as a stepping stone to the Epsom Handicap.
Trained by Tim Martin, Heavens Above has had one experience of top level racing, finishing second to Azkadellia in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes.
The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Ravi steps up to Group Two level for the first time after her second to Heavens Above in the Sheraco.
Thompson has also entered Zanbagh for the Golden Pendant.
A dual Oaks runner-up when trained by the late Guy Walter, Zanbagh won the Group Two Emancipation Stales (1600m) in the autumn before running fifth in the Queen Of The Turf.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au