Black Opal Stakes waiving not drowning

The Canberra Racing Club is confident torrential rain swamping south-east Australia won’t effect next weekend’s Black Opal Stakes meeting.

Several race meetings are under serious threat over the next few days with tomorrow’s Sapphire Coast races expected to be the first NSW casualty of the downpours.

Earlier today Sunday’s Wangaratta Cup meeting in northern Victoria was abandoned due to the driving rain.

But Canberra Racing Club chief executive Peter Stubbs said Thoroughbred Park’s largest ever race meeting would survive.

“It’s very wet, right at the moment and it’s very unlikely that we would be going ahead if we were racing today,” Stubbs said.

“The available forecast for next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday is looking quite reasonable, so we’re hoping that will continue on to the Black Opal.

“Looking at forecasts further west of us, you would certainly expect that probably next Thursday is going to be sunny.”

The course proper at Thoroughbred Park has a profile mix of sand and loam which is capable of draining a minimum of 100mm of water per hour.

While Stubbs admitted the synthetic Acton Track was a possible contingency plan, he said we would need the current rate of rainfall to continue well in to next week for a transfer to occur.

“We would need consistent rain to race on the Acton, the course proper is a sand profile track that drains very well,” Stubbs said.

“That doesn’t mean to say that it doesn’t become waterlogged but it is a track that was designed specifically to drain well.

“Given that we have some clearing weather with light showers and rain, we would still be able to race on that track.

“We’re not concerned at this point.”

Throughout the current deluge, Stubbs commended how well the synthetic Acton Track was holding up, with trackwork continuing at the Canberra track despite the heavy rain falls.

“The Acton synthetic track through this rain period has been performing extremely well for track work,” he said.

“Horses have been able to go through their normal training regime without interruption, which is a ringing endorsement for the Acton track.

“Any other reasonable track would be closed with this sort of rain.”

Next weekend’s bumper race day at Canberra features four listed races including the capital’s flagship $250,000 Black Opal Stakes, and the $200,000 Canberra Cup.