The Canberra Cup will celebrate its 80th anniversary on John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes day this Sunday and the trophy will be delivered to the Mounting Yard via a horse drawn carriage, not dissimilar to a royal entry by the Queen at Ascot.
The Canberra Cup, valued at $200,000 in prize money is a Listed race run over 2000m.
The nominations for the 4 major races on John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes are out with some impressive blue bloods and trainers included. With total prize money on offer of over $900,000, the big names from metro stables as well as some handy runners from the locals are predominant.
From the Waterhouse/Bott stables, winner of the Black Opal Preview Bellevue Hill is exempt from ballot and is second favourite with the TAB at $4 behind favourite Bivouac from the Godolphin yard at $3.
A couple of minor upsets, but generally punters were on the mark at Friday’s Black Opal Preview meeting at Canberra, where some impressive efforts were recorded.
None were better than BELLEVUE HILL who blitzed the 2yo’s in the Black Opal Preview over 1000m.
The Waterhouse-Bott-trained Pierro colt held the rail and was pressured to the turn by ZELAGO, but once they straightened he put a space in them winning by 5.1L and was strong to the line.
The money came for Bellevue Hill ($3.4F) off two solid trials and he will be even better over further.
The clock is ticking down to Canberra’s premier race day, The Black Opal, on Sunday March 10.
On Friday we see a number of preview races for horses gearing up for the Black Opal, the Canberra, Cup, the Canberra Guineas and the National Sprint.
The Black Opal preview is the last event on the eight-race card, with only six of the 15 acceptances having faced the starter. Debutants from the Waterhouse-Bott, Newnham and Baker yards add plenty of Sydney interest to the event.
The Canberra Racing Club and Carbine Club of ACT have joined forces to present the Black Opal Stakes luncheon held on Friday 8 March, two days from the Black Opal Stakes race day.
Racing Review -- Canberra, Friday February 1 2019
The track was rated a good 4, but there was some give in it after rain during the week.
Race 7, The $40,000 TAB Federal was hit with a swag of scratching, including EMBEZZLEMENT who raced at Rosehill Saturday blitzing the Highway field for the Canberra’s Joseph, Jones and Jones partnership.
With some showers possible in the evening the track should present in good order with a bit of cut. The rail out 8m will enhance the prospects of gallopers racing handy.
A couple of small but interesting fields early but good numbers later in the program.
Interest in the performances of around Farthing Wood and Duchess Of Windsor who both impressed at the last meeting. The $40,000 Federal has again drawn a competitive field with the well-rated Action Shale presenting as a key runner on the quick return and seeking to master the jump in trip.
There were a couple of upsets, but overall the form held up well at Friday's meeting in the capital -- which commenced at the earlier time of 10.15am.
In Race 7, the $40,000 TAB Federal the scratchings of Safe Landing and Polyxena left the door open for the Joe Ible-trained sprinter MANZANA to score a deserved win as a $2.7 favourite -- delivering from front in style. Ible has always had an opinion of the Pendragon gelding and he can go on with it based on that performance.