A $70,000 pick up via the Inglis Digital sales, Mr Marathon Man has paid himself off and then some by winning the 2021 $250,000 TAB Canberra Cup. After a delayed start due to a fractious horse at the gates, the Listed contest over 2000m proved to be worth the wait with the Richard Litt-trained Mr Marathon Man hitting the line alongside the fast finishing Dadoozdart. Blessed with the perfect run, Irish jocket Robbie Dolan timed his run perfectly to beat an impressive field of stayers. The win is both Richard Litt and Robbie Dolans’s first in the Canberra Cup.
The track played fair and was rated a Good 4 before being upgraded to a Good 3 after Race 5.
The two best supported runners in early markets were both scratched from the Black Opal with the slightly easing favourite Rocket Tiger placing third behind the Team Snowden who we will likely see next in the Golden Slipper.
The rail remains 3m the entire for the second day of the club’s feature carnival and should remain in the Good range.
The Canberra Cup promises to be very competitive with Melbourne and Sydney gallopers heading the early betting. Equation has come up favourite for the Canberra Guineas and there are a number capable of threatening.
Race 1 (1000m) BM65
*RACE 1 @ 1.10pm NCG SERVICES BENCHMARK 65 HCP (1000m) - Min Weight 55kg; Apprentices Can Claim:
We kick off Day 2 of the Carnival with the same track and rail conditions. Local four-year-old gelding 3. WASHINGTON TOWERS (Todd Smart/Blaike McDougall; 59.5kg) got much further back from a wide draw second-up in a deeper Highway, but came on strong late. That should have him peaking to strike back at home from an economical draw.
Kalashnikov has delivered a fourth Black Opal Stakes for Team Snowden in impressive fashion breaking the race record with a blistering time of 1:09.60. The Capitalist colt pressed his claims for a berth in the Golden Slipper just beating a fast finishing Solar Winds.
The Rail is out 3m the entire and will be in the Good range with fine warm weather forecast.
Canberra’s feature race day with large competitive fields and plenty of progressive gallopers will be on show. The early Black Opal Market is dominated by the Team Hawkes-trained Remarque but he’s not certain to go around. If he doesn’t Tommy Berry would likely switch to stablemate Solar Winds (on debut) and in those circumstances the colt would need to be kept very safe.
*1st Race @ 1.20pm
Track expected Good 4 & Rail out +3m
*RACE 1 @ 1.20pm LANDHQ BENCHMARK 75 HCP (1200m) - Min Weight 55kg; Apprentices Can Claim:
A crowd of up to 3,000 will enjoy the all that John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes Day has to offer this Sunday 7 March. Canberra’s premier race day, John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes Day continues to be a highlight of the Canberra social calender offering the Nation’s Capital something to celebrate this Canberra Day long weekend. The event is a complete sell out except for Members and Owners who will receive automatic entry upon arrival.
Twelve months ago the Canberra Racing Club launched the two-day Canberra Carnival and with it, the family-focused TAB Canberra Cup Day. Held on the Canberra Day public holiday, the day was designed to provide the Canberra community with a great reason to stay in town for the long-weekend and proved to be a resounding success with thousands enjoying all the family day had to offer.
There were mixed fortunes for the local hopes in the live barrier draws for the John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes (1200m) and the TAB Canberra Cup (2000m). Norm Gardner was ecstatic with his Miss Ostend’s draw of Barrier Six while Matthew Dale’s Pretty Woman who is currently $4.80 with TAB, drew Barrier Nine.
Norm Gardner buoyed by his filly’s draw was confident Miss Ostend can be a player in this year’s $250,000 Group 3 John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes.