Black Opal Countdown

The countdown is well and truly on for Canberra’s premier race — the Mercedes Benz Canberra Black Opal Stakes on Sunday 5 March 2017.

There are four feature races on ‘Super Sunday’ with almost $900,000 in prize money offered across the eight race program.

Prize money for the Group 3 Black Opal has been lifted to $300,000 making it an even more attractive target for youngsters looking to qualify for the $3.5 million Golden Slipper Stakes for 2yos — to be held two weeks later.

The listed National Sprint and Canberra Guineas both have a purse of $130,000 while the listed Canberra Cup will be run for $200,000.

The inaugural Black Opal Stakes was first run in 1973 and was won by Rich Reward.

Takedown’s win in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes in Perth in November makes him the third Black Opal Stakes winner from the past five years to win a Group 1 race.

The other two being Epaulette (2012) and Criterion (2013).

The Canberra Racing Club has linked with Jamison Travel to offer a ‘Black Opal Experience’ package to interstate and international racegoers — including five nights accommodation, the Yowani Black Opal Stakes Charity Gold Day, the Thoroughbred Club of Australia Luncheon and Platinum Marquee entry to the Black Opal Race Day.

The Club is keen to springboard off Singapore Airlines the newly-established direct flight service between Singapore, Canberra and Wellington to lure Singaporese and Kiwi racegoers to the prestige autumn race meeting and associated activities.