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$400,000 Canberra Speed Series announced

The Canberra Racing Club is thrilled to announce the introduction of the $400,000 Canberra Speed Series and the ‘Clan O’Sullivan’ for two-year-olds.

The Canberra Speed Series covers three exciting two-year-old races culminating in the 50th Anniversary of the Group 3 John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes. A bonus of $100,000 will be offered to the owners of any horse who wins all three races.

  • The Clan O'Sullivan - Friday, 30 December 2022 - 1000m 2YO Open Handicap - $50,000
  • ETS Refrigeration & Airconditioning Black Opal Preview  Friday, 24 February 2023 - 1000m 2YO Open Handicap - $50,000
  • John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes - Sunday, 12 March 2023 - 1200m Group 3 2YO Set Weights & Penalties - $200,000

With up to $400,000 in prizemoney available in the Canberra Speed Series, Canberra Racing Club Chief Executive Darren Pearce said “The Group 3 John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes holds an important place on the Autumn racing calendar.”

“There are many great races in the Nation’s Capital but the Black Opal Stakes is the most exciting.”

“With the introduction of this series and bonus, we are confident that we can attract a quality field befitting of the 50th Anniversary of the first running of this great race.”

“The race has produced some serious stars with locals Catbird, who won the Golden Slipper, Clan O’Sullivan of course and more recently, subsequent Group One winners Epualette, Criterion and Trapeze Artist.”

The Clan O’Sullivan, programmed as an additional race on Friday, 30 December will celebrate the first Canberra-trained horse to win the Black Opal Preview & Black Opal Stakes double. The Frank Cleary-trained Clan O’Sullivan was also the winner of the Magic Millions 2YO Classic and was runner-up in the Golden Slipper in 1992.

Frank Cleary said of the announcement “It’s great recognition of a great horse, horses like him shouldn’t be forgotten.”

“He was the first local winner of the Preview and Black Opal double and that came with plenty of pressure I’ll tell you. Half of Canberra were ringing me up telling me I’ve got to win” Cleary said.

“It’s a shame his owner Ken Jones isn’t alive to see this, he would have absolutely loved this race. Ken did a lot for Canberra, when Clan O’Sullivan was entered in the Slipper he shouted a heap of buses from Canberra to Sydney and he might have even stocked them full of grog for everyone.”

The $50,000 Clan O’Sullivan will be held 15 days prior to the Magic Millions 2YO Classic and represents a great lead up for horses looking to gain a place in the $2m feature.

Both the Clan O’Sullivan and the Black Opal Preview will hold ballot exemption for the first two horses past the post.

“The Clan O’Sullivan will bring quality two-year-olds from the region and from interstate.” Darren Pearce said. “There are a number of big projects that the Club is working on and we are really excited about the year ahead.”