Black Opal Review

The track played beautifully for Canberra’s premier Black Opal Race Day in front of a bumper crowd.

The Black Opal Stakes

The field fell away to just seven runners for the feature, the John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes, but it developed into a keen betting affair with Rome the easing $2.80 favourite.

The money came for the James Cummings-trained PIN SEC resuming off a Randwick Maiden win and she duly saluted in style.  

Pin Sec's victory again demonstrated the depth of the Godolphin 2yos, with the stable scratching Bivouac in preference for the striking Lonhro filly.

Pin Sec settled beautifully behind the speed on the rail and then worked to the outside to bloused Team Snowden’s ROME and MCLAREN by 4.1L.

The placed pair fought hard, with McLaren ($3.60) a bit keen leading, and Rome sitting right on the colt.    

The only other genuine chance, ALL CYLINDERS ($4.50), got caught wide in the small field and it told at the business end.

The biggest winning margin in the Black Opal was recorded in 1997, when Fraud streeted the field winning by 8L with a Timeform Rating of 112.

In 1994, St Covet won by 6L rating 122 and then went on to run second in the Golden Slipper and win the Sires.

Pin Sec rated 111 on Sunday 3 pounds more than last year’s winner Encryption 108.

With her additional $173,000 prize money, Pin Sec can join a raft of stablemates in the Golden Slipper, but no surprise if she’s targeted at the Percy Sykes Stakes for fillies, which she appears good enough to win. 

The Canberra Guineas

There were five runners in the market for the XXXX Gold Canberra Guineas with the Maher-Eustace-trained YULONG JANUARY the $3.40 favourite.

The Melbourne colt had come off a luckless run in the Zeditave at G3 level and was given every chance on-pace by Kerrin McEvoy, but found nothing in the straight.

The race was taken out by the Newnham-trained Final Award ($4) who sat back with the subsequent second placegetter Laburnum ($5.50); both finishing hard down the middle of the track.

The Waterhouse-Bott-trained MAJOR AWARD ($17.0) led uncontested and fought on into a well-beaten third.

Final Award dropped back in trip off a disappointing run at the mile at Warwick Farm and enjoyed the solid tempo.  The local MOOKAREENA ($41) put in a good effort running into fourth and there are easier pickings for her. 

COTERIE ($4.40) got a nice trial midfield, but failed to run on when presented to win.

The Canberra Cup

The market suggested the TAB Canberra Cup was a three horse race, but only the subsequent winner SAMADOUBT ($5) delivered on the day.

Samadoubt was a question at the trip, but beautifully-rated by Tim Clark got an easy time in front  and was able to run it right out winning comfortably.

TAIKOMOCHI ($12) sat handy and was presented three-wide on speed at the 600m, and his effort was tough placing second; as was that of last year’s winner ALMOST COURT ($18.0) in third; going into the race a run or two short. 

Almost Court should be cherry ripe now for an assignment like the Albury Cup.

The favourite MORTON’S FORK ($3.50) looked well-placed but didn’t come-on, given every chance. The money came for the Victorian OUR PEAKY BLINDERS ($4.80), but he settled last and couldn’t get into it. 

The National Sprint

MERCURAL LAD ($5) set up a big lead in the Geocon National Sprint and the favourite FLOW (2.90) was beautifully positioned midfield by Kerrin McEvoy.

He worked into it stylishly and looked the winner when he collared the leader before the 200m. However, SNIPPETS LAND ($3.80) was gathering steam behind and powered to the line to defeat the fast finishing WHO’S KNOCKING ($8.50) and LEVEE BANK ($9.50).

It was the 8yo Snippets Land’s second win the National Sprint and was one of three wins for jockey Blake Shinn on the day.

The runs of the locals Who’s Knocking and Levee Back were notable in this grade.

The Camarena Quality

In the Affinity Constructions Australia Camarena Quality, the money came for the local Stephan ($3.40) and he was most unlucky again.

He was last out of the barriers and had to work through to sit midfield. He made up many lengths under Tommy Berry’s urgings, but couldn’t run down ALL OVER BOSANOVA ($5.0) who led uncontested from the wide gate with Shinn astride.

There was stable confidence about SHE KNOWS ($4.0) who was weighted up to her best and looked ready to find it. The mare was given every hope sitting handy.

The local GOT THE GOSS ($26) resumed and came from a long way back to run third and impressed. He’s back home from a stint with the Weir stable and the 8yo can be placed to advantage in coming weeks.

Riding Honours went to the Sydney pair, Blake Shinn (3) and Jason Collett (2).

The only Canberra winner on the day was Te Ata who took out the Seears Workwear BM65 for Matt Dale with Shinn up.