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Canberra filly emerges as Black Opal favourite

Canberra racing may have unearthed it’s next superstar in Matthew Dale’s Pretty Woman. The filly heads to the Group 3 $250,000 John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes this Sunday as a $3 favourite with TAB to become the first local winner of the race since You’re Canny in 2011.

The daughter of Written Tycoon was an impressive winner on debut at Canberra on the 5th of February, and started a $2.60 favourite in the ETS Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Black Opal Preview ahead of a hot field including runners from the Waterhouse & Bott, Maher & Eustace and Freedman Brother yards.

Pretty Woman’s price was justified half way up the straight as her explosive turn of foot saw her power away from her rivals beating the promising Glistening by over a length and a half and the third placed Bruckner by over five and a half lengths. Her time of 0:56:50 saw her crowned the new class record holder at Thoroughbred Park over the 1000m and Trainer Matthew Dale is understandably excited.

“There are many variables in racing but she could be my best since Fell Swoop.” Matthew Dale said. “She’s definitely better than he was at the same stage of their career.” A big wrap on the talented filly given Fell Swoop is a Group Two winner and five time Group One place getter.

“I’ve been very happy with how she has been ticking along, she’s handling the preparation well. She galloped on Tuesday this week and went great.”

While Dale remains acutely aware of the threat the impending City raiders present, he’s confident his filly has the class to match any challenge that is put in front of her.

“From everything I’ve seen so far, she’s going to be as good as any that come down (from Sydney).” Dale said.

“It’s certainly a test but there will be a lot in her favour given that she’ll be racing on her home track.”

Both Pretty Woman and the Freedman’s Glistening have both gained ballot exemption for the John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes on Sunday 7th March.