Hot Bensley Presses For Jockey Premiership

The 2017-18 ACT Jockey and Trainer Premierships are again shaping as terrific contests deep into the racing season.

Matt Cahill holds a four win lead in the Jockey Premiership but is facing a stern challenge from Richard Bensley who has saluted in five of his last eight rides at Thoroughbred Park.  

Bensley has won his last three for Nick Olive — and four from his last five linking with last year’s premier trainer.

Single Gaze to retire this Saturday

Canberra trainer Nick Olive has confirmed Single Gaze will take her place in Saturday’s Sydney Cup at Randwick and will be retired immediately after.

Olive says Single Gaze has come through her Tancred Stakes run in good order and believes she can be right in the finish of the two mile feature.

“I thought there was plenty of merit in her Tancred run.

“She got a bit far back but was only two lengths from the winner and three quarters of a length from Gailo Chop — and that’s the closest she got to him all campaign.”

Fell Swoop To Return In The Star Kingdom

Crack Canberra sprinter Fell Swoop will return off a brief freshen in Saturday’s G3 Star Kingdom Stakes at Rosehill.

Fell Swoop last raced in the Listed Bob Hoysted Handicap at Flemington and jarred up on the firm ground.  Dale skipped last Friday’s G1 William Reid Stakes at Mooney Valley to give Fell Swoop more time to get over it.

Single Gaze To Back Up In Saturday’s G1 Tancred

Canberra-trained Single Gaze will back-up in next week’s Group 1 Tancred Stakes following her second-placing in Saturdays’ Ranvet Stakes.

Single Gaze was beaten on her merits by Gailo Chop in the Ranvet, but fought back bravely to hold second.  

Trainer Nick Olive is keen for the rematch in the Tancred and believes Single Gaze needs the 2400m at this stage of her autumn campaign; conceding that Gailo Chop is a tough nut to crack over 2000m.

Single Gaze’s Jockey Kathy O’Hara said the mare was as gallant as ever in defeat.

Golden Slipper start for Sizzling Belle

Sizzling Belle is 16th in the Slipper Order of entry and guaranteed a start in the $3.5 million feature at Rosehill.

Olive says he’s very happy with the filly and believes she’s improved off the Black Opal run.

“I took her to the pool this morning and she looks a million dollars,” Olive says.

Showers are forecast in Sydney all week and Olive says a wet track could assist Sizzling Belle.

Almost Court delivers home town win

Local trainers Barbara Joseph and Paul Jones celebrated a hometown victory when Almost Court claimed a brave front-running win the Listed Canberra Cup (2000m). Almost Court gave the local duo their second win in the race following Fill The Page’s success in 2012. A recent stable acquisition from New Zealand, Almost Caught raced quickly through his grades on the country circuit before winning in Sydney two starts back and running fourth at Randwick last weekend.

Blueblood Encryption wins the Opal

Blue-blooded colt Encryption lived up to his pedigree when scoring a breakthrough victory in the Group 3 Black Opal Stakes at Canberra (1200m) on Sunday.

A maiden going into the juvenile feature, the Godolphin colt had already placed three times at stakes level and was a last-start fifth in the Blue Diamond.

Encryption ($3) found the Black Opal more to his liking but had to call on all on his reserves to beat local filly Sizzling Belle ($7) — only gaining the upper hand in the latter stages for jockey Glyn Schofield.

Favourite Bondi (2.70) was third.

Bumper nominations for 2018 John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes

The Canberra Racing Club has received bumper nominations Sunday’s Black Opal Day program.

The Black Opal Stakes has attracted 27 nominations with a raft of quality youngsters representing top interstate yards.

Among the nominations are gallopers the calibre of EF Troop (Gollan), Enbihaar (Hayes-Dabernig), Prairie Fire (Price), Exceltic (Portelli), Plague Stone (Godolphin) and Legend Of Condor (Ryan).

Godolphin, raiders of the Black Opal

The 2018 John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes is shaping to benefit from this year’s intense competition to make the field for the rich Golden Slipper Stakes.

Godolphin is expected to run ENCRYPTION in next Sunday’s Black Opal rendition.

The stable has indicated that the Lonhro colt with be joined by last start Brisbane winner OLD NORTH who will compete in the National Sprint.

Exciting weekend in store for Olive

The Nick Olive yard is preparing for a full-on weekend of high-level racing.

The Canberra trainer is lining-up Single Gaze in Saturday’s G1 Australian Cup at Flemington where she will compete for $1.5 million in prizemoney.

And on Sunday he is lining-up leading local hope Sizzling Belle in the rich John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes in Canberra.

Olive says Single Gaze will peak for the Australian Cup where she will again meet Gailo Chop who defeated her into second in the G2 Peter Young Stakes at her last start.

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