Below is a list of activities scheduled for the John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes day.
Canberra galloper Almost Court will have his final hit out in preparation for the tab.com.au Canberra Cup in the Tahiti Travel Connection Handicap at Randwick on Saturday.
Almost Court has been in scintillating form since joining the Barbara Joseph/Paul Jones stable in July winning 5 races and $102,000 in prizemoney.
At his last start at Randwick a fortnight ago dead heated with Emperor’s Way, who is also a likely Canberra Cup contender.
The Keith Dryden-Scott Collings partnership has streeted rival-stables in the race for the 2017-18, ACT Trainer Premiership.
Nick Olive pipped Dryden-Collings for the 2016-17 premiership — the contest going down to the last meeting.
Six months into the 2017-18 season, Dryden-Collings have delivered 21 winners on Canberra tracks, at a strike rate of one in four.
Olive — whose invariably a strong finisher — currently sits 11 winners behind (10), one ahead of the Barbara-Joseph-Paul Jones partnership.
Sunday week’s Camarena Quality on John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes day is likely to be a hotly contested affair.
Highly Geared will be lining up for her third consecutive win in the Camarena. Regardless of whether she wins or not it will be an emotional time for connections following the death of Samara Johnson in a car accident in December, Samara was the partner of trainer Garry Kirkup who was badly injured in the same accident. Samara was the regular track rider of Highly Geared and had an emotional connection with the horse.
Canberra mare PERIZADA will step up to G3 grade following her win in Saturday’s Schweppes Handicap at Rosehill on Saturday.
Firm in the betting, Perizada made it two from two this campaign off her Canberra win.
Prior to that, Perizada was placed behind Ravi in the G3 Sheraco Stakes, so the Wenona Girl Quality at Randwick in a fortnight in a nice progression.
Throughout her career, Perizada has had to be carefully managed by the John Nisbet-Ron Weston training team, and had 18 months in the paddock recovering from injury before her resurgence.
The Canberra/Goulburn training partnership of Keith Dryden and Scott Collings and leading Cowra based jockey Mathew Cahill are well positioned for a tilt at the John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes race meeting after combining to win four races at Canberra last Friday.
The Canberra Racing Club has secured high profile betting agency Tabcorp as the sponsor of The Federal races held at Thoroughbred Park.
Introduced at the beginning of 2018, The Federal has had impressive fields over the initial 3 races, with this Friday being the first linked with the TAB name.
Turnover on the first 2 meetings in January which have included Federal races have been incredibly positive with growth on the competitive meetings in 2017 of 15%.
Single Gaze goes into Saturday’s Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) in peak condition, according to trainer Nick Olive.
Olive says Single Gaze has improved off her near-miss in the CF Orr Stakes and says “she is as good as I have had her”.
“She pleased on the steeple grass at Caulfield on Tuesday morning, finishing her work strongly.
“She went to the beach yesterday and this morning had a trot and canter and all is in order.”
On Saturday, Single Gaze again meets Hartnell who just nutted her in the CF Ore Stakes, as well as last-start winner Gailo Chop.
The countdown to Black Opal Stakes Day is on in earnest with Friday’s running of the Affinity Electrical Technologies Lightning Ridge 2YO Plate.
The traditional lead up to the Black Opal, the Lightning Ridge has attracted 10 nominations — and they are split evenly between leading local yards and powerful Sydney stables.
Peter and Paul Snowden, who have enjoyed Black Opal success with Epaulette and Defcon, have nominated Bondi for Friday’s race.
Bondi last raced when unplaced in the Magic Millions 2yo Classic on the Gold Coast, following a third in the Wyong MM.
Now in its third year running, The Thoroughbred Club of Australia – Canberra Branch Annual Autumn luncheon, as a prelude to the John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes has quickly grown to become a highlight of racing’s social calendar, with previous events all selling out, previous speakers engaged include Gai Waterhouse and Gerry Harvey.